Technology, textbooks and tokenism: IR 5.0 and the under-utilized promise of tasks in ESP

Thu 2 May 2024 6:00pm7:00pm


Room 215, Gordon Greenwood Building 32, UQ St Lucia


Jonathan Newton is Associate Professor and Program Director for the Master of TESOL and Master of Applied Linguistics programs at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. In his career in language teacher education, he has worked alongside teachers from many countries to better understand classroom language teaching and learning, especially in relation to task-based language teaching (TBLT), teaching listening and speaking, teaching vocabulary, and teaching for intercultural capabilities. He has published widely in the field, including five books: Using tasks in language teaching (2021), Teaching ESL/EFL Listening and Speaking (2020), Workplace Talk in Action: An ESOL Resource (2010), Teaching English to Second Language Learners in Academic Contexts (2018), and How to teach speaking: A Guide for English Language Teachers (2021). See:


According to the emerging concept of Industrial Revolution 5.0 (IR 5.0), priorities for the next phase of ‘industrial development’ and our global future include a focus on human-machine collaboration, shift to social value, and resilience and adaptability. In keeping with these projections, few doubt that technology, especially in the shape of generative AI, is redefining the near-term future of language education.

Against this backdrop, in this talk I’d like to reflect on the shortcomings and opportunities I’ve observed in the representation of tasks in some ESP textbooks and classroom practices. Based on these observations, I will suggest ways in which a deeper understanding of TBLT and of educational technology can deliver learning experiences that are better aligned with the principles of ESP and more likely to align with work-relevant graduate attributes and with IR 5.0.