The use of authentic documents as a medium for teaching and learning language and culture has been a constant in school language teaching, from the grammar-translation methodology (which aimed at having students translate texts from classical literature) to the action-oriented perspective. These documents even became, during the whole period of the "active methodology" (official school methodology in France from the 1920s to the 1960s), the principle of unity of the didactic unit or sequence, which is constructed from a single document or a group of documents on the same cultural theme, and on which the learners are asked to carry out a set of tasks which constitute a school macro-task called in France "explication de textes", each of the micro-tasks corresponding to a different form of explanation. However, textbooks claiming to use the communicative approach have adopted the same device and the same tasks from level B2 onwards, and even from level B1 onwards, and they are also found in the PIRLS and PISA assessments. The model of task-based analysis presented here, illustrated by numerous examples taken from textbooks, appears as soon as the logic of maximum didactic exploitation of a document considered to be representative of both the target language and culture is brought into play, and has been progressively enriched by successive additions over the course of the 20th century. As it is now constituted, with the tasks "prepare - identify - analyze - interpret - extrapolate - react - judge - compare - transpose - extend", it can serve as a guide (1) for teachers and learners, who can identify, according to the potential of the documents and their objectives (2) for authors of language textbooks, in order to organize the work on the different documents within the didactic units, and (3) for students of didactics of languages and cultures, who can use it as a grid for analyzing the didactic materials. Following the presentation of this model, examples of application are proposed, a dynamic model putting the different tasks into a network, and proposals for target exercises to train learners on each of these tasks, as is done on grammar points or lexical fields.
Also available ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/368426725
Original French version: 041.
Spanish version: 041-es.