Teaching Modal Verbs: Task-based vs. traditional approaches

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Islamic Azad University, Kerman Branch, Kerman, Iran

2 Center for Advanced Engineering Research, Islamic Azad University, Majlesi Branch


Abstract Task-based language teaching is considered an effective way to achieve a harmony between grammar and communication. The present study investigates two different ways of teaching modal verbs: task-based versus traditional approaches. To this purpose, an Oxford Placement Test was administered to select 40 homogeneous participants out of a larger population who took this test. The selected participants were randomly divided into experimental and control groups of 20 students each. Those in the experimental group attended an English class six days a week, practicing grammar through tasked-based approach, while the control group did not receive any task-based work. The OPT was administered at the end of the semester again to see which group could do modal verbs better. A final test of modal verb tasks was also administered at the end of the study to see if all the learners have improved in using modal verbs in the same way/at the same amount through task-based language teaching. The results of this study indicated that there is a statistically significant difference between the experimental group and the control group, meaning that teaching modal verbs through task-based approaches has been more effective than teaching them in traditional ways. It was also revealed that the modal verb can was improved much more, while have to and must were improved less. The results of the study may have a significant implication for teaching modal verbs in particular and language learning in general.