The Target-Based language teaching approach (TBLT), or Target-Based language instruction strategy (TBI) is one of the most widely-used teaching interventions in language instruction, particularly in the field of Second Language Acquisition (SLA). It was created in the 1970s as an answer to the need to teach both grammar and meaning during SLA. Its application branches out of CLT (Communicative Language Teaching) and, according to Cook and Gass (1993), TBLT is to be pedagogically described as
“first, as an aspect of the research methodology used in studies of second language acquisition (SLA) from the beginning of the 1980s, and second, as a concept used in second language curriculum design from the middle of the 1980s”
The approach consists on conducting relevant, and real-life field excercises using the language that is being learned, or target language, emphasizing more on pragmatics. The idea is that, by applying the target language to real situations, the student will comprehend the language best since two major thinking skills will come into play: decoding and problem solving.
The use of the word "task" is important. It is not defined under a linguistic focus. A "task" is described as an activity where there is interaction, a sense of completeness, a beginning-middle-end, and where students are given the opportunity to manipulate and be in control of a situation. The aim of TBLT is that, through the task, the students will be able to apply all the schema that has been built throughout other approaches to SLA. Hence, task-based learning, as with every other strategy, should not be merely used in isolation. All approaches work best when applied as per the need of the student.