Distinguished Achievement Award

IATBLT members are invited to nominate individuals who have made outstanding and sustained contributions to the field of task-based language education (research, teaching, assessment, materials development, etc.).

The winner of the award will be presented with an award of €1000 (funded independently by the IATBLT vzw) and a certificate at the next biennial conference of IATBLT.


This award is given biennially for an article that makes a significant contribution to the field of task-based language teaching (TBLT). Members of IATBLT vzw may nominate articles published in refereed journals or as book chapters published in the the two years before the next conference.

The winner will be presented with an award of €500 (funded independently by the IATBLT vzw) and a certificate at the next biennial conference of IATBLT.

2019 Award winners

2019 TBLT Distinguished Achievement Award

The Executive Board of the International Association for Task-Based Language Teaching is pleased to award the IATBLT Distinguished Achievement Award 2019 to Emeritus Professor Martin Bygate.

Martin has demonstrated a long-standing and unfaltering commitment to TBLT over many years. His contributions to TBLT scholarship have been substantial and insightful. His own research work on task repetition is innovative and well-known, and his work with Virginia Samuda has inspired many teachers to implement TBLT in practice.

Martin has also produced multiple ‘big picture’ contributions on TBLT which have served to challenge our thinking and reset the discourse in important ways. His work as one of the three founding editors of the John Benjamins TBLT series has had an immense impact on the field. Since 2009, fourteen volumes have been published so far. In the volumes Martin has personally edited or co-edited he has provided thoughtful leadership in identifying important themes in need of debate, selecting relevant voices to contribute to that debate, and carefully introducing key ideas and otherwise framing the presentation of TBLT with an eye to advancing our understanding of what is really at stake.

As a long-time professor and educator, Martin has mentored and otherwise impacted numerous language teachers and education researchers. Many of his university research students have returned to their home countries or pursued sojourns abroad with a focus on careers in language teaching, teacher education, and educational policy.
Martin has served in broader service roles within the field of applied linguistics, for example as co-editor of Applied Linguistics, and as President of the International Association for Applied Linguistics (AILA). In both of these capacities, he heightened awareness of and attention to TBLT as a major intersection of thinking, research, and action within the broader disciplines of applied linguistics.
What truly sets Martin apart from others has been his active, unfaltering and inspirational engagement and service in the TBLT community. Martin was one of the founding members of the original Consortium on Task-Based Language Teaching, established in the early 2000s. He played a key role in co-ordinating aspects of the TBLT biennial conferences. Martin also took the lead in organising the 2009 conference when it was hosted at Lancaster University. When the International Association for Task-Based Language Teaching was officially established in 2015, Martin became a founding member and ex officio board member, a role he completes at the 2019 conference in Ottawa.

An award at this time enables Martin’s many contributions to TBLT research and practice over the years to be acknowledged, recognised, and celebrated.

2019 Research Article Award

Riestenberg, K., & Sherris, A. (2018). Task-Based Teaching of Indigenous Languages: Investment and Methodological Principles in Macuiltianguis Zapotec and Salish Qlispe Revitalization. Canadian Modern Language Review, 74, 434–459.

Riestenberg and Sherris reflect on the enabling conditions that allowed them to put TBLT to the service of language revitalization in two very different contexts.  The study is original and contributes to an area of TBLT that is new but also very timely, taking TBLT way beyond the typical contexts we have seen in the last three decades. The comparative nature of the two settings makes it interesting and also useful for practitioners who are thinking about implementing TBLT, particularly in less common contexts. 


The paper is well written, well grounded in theory, explained in detail and based on existing research and practices. Michael Long’s (2015) ten universal methodological principles of TBLT are examined and analyzed, and the authors show how these were implemented in the two unique contexts.


The article counters criticisms often leveled against TBLT that it is inappropriate in non-western contexts, showing that instead TBLT was valued by the teachers, parents, and elderly in the two communities. The paper thus makes strong theoretical and methodological contributions to TBLT research in general and more specifically in less explored contexts like those of endangered languages. This aspect makes the paper unique and original, given the urgency of revitalizing and maintaining indigenous languages around the world.


In sum, Riestenberg and Sherris have added a study to the burgeoning TBLT literature that leads the path for others to explore the implementation of TBLT in untrodden contexts, always in close collaboration with the relevant communities.


In making this award, we are mindful that 2019 is the United Nations Year of Indigenous Languages, set aside to raise awareness and appreciation of the important contributions these languages make to our world’s rich cultural diversity. It is fitting in this special year that the Best Article Award should go to a paper that addresses indigenous language issues.