Project work with learners
Project work is becoming an increasingly popular feature in a classroom. Common projects are class magazines, group wall newspaper about different countries and designs for cities of the future. A project involves students in deciding together what they want to do to complete a project whilst the teacher plays a more supporting role.
I will review this issue in several ways:
Planning the project
Some possible drawbacks
Some advantages of project work are:
Increased motivation - learners become personally involved in the project.
All four skills, reading, writing, listening and speaking are integrated.
Autonomous learning is promoted as learners become more responsible for their own learning.
There are learning outcomes -learners have an end product.
Interpersonal relations are developed through working as a group.
Content and methodology can be decided between the learners and the teacher and within the group themselves taking into account all the interests of the learner.
Learners often get help from parents for project work thus involving the parent more in the child's learning. Parents will be pleased to see their child’s labor
Learners can use the chance to relax from the routine to do something unusual.
Planning the project
To give learners an idea of what projects are and what they should be aiming to produce, it is good to have examples of past projects for example, a photocopy or photography of a previous group newspaper.
After explaining the idea behind the project I ask learners to propose a scheme of work:
What they want to include in the project
What form it will take
Who will be responsible for this or that work
An idea of the time it will take to produce each part of the project
Any material or resources they might need
Then I sit down with each group for 10 minutes to discuss their proposals (a copy of which both I and the learner would keep to refer to as the project develops). At this point all procedures of project work will also be explained.
For the full development of the project would require at least a week
Show the learners the space they will have for the project, it could be wall space or a corner of the classroom, so they have some idea how much material they should produce and can plan the layout.
Materials and resources
Provide the learners with materials they might need: card, scissors glue, paper etc. It is fairly common now for learners to want to use the Internet to find information for their projects. Encourage a keen student with Internet to do this at home! If there is time and Internet available in the school make sure the students have informed you of exactly what they're looking for - photos- or that they have prepared a list of information they want to find. Simply giving the learners time on the computers can lead to them aimlessly surfing the net. If the facility is available learners often like to write finished drafts of their work on the computer.
Projects need to be seen, read and admired them. Ask the group to prepare a task for the others in the class to do connected to the project: it could be a quiz with questions for a wall newspaper, a crossword using vocabulary for the project or comprehension questions for a video that learners have made.
As with any piece of work a project needs to be acknowledged and evaluated. It's not enough to just say 'that's great' after all the work learners have put in. I use a simple project evaluation report, which comments on aspects of the project such as content, design, language work and also evaluates the oral presentation stage of the project.
Some possible drawbacks to project work
Learners using their own language
Sometimes students lack the vocabulary to use native language so you have to decide whether the benefits of project work outweigh this factor.
Some learners doing nothing
By giving more freedom to the learners you may also be giving them the freedom to do nothing! If the project is planned carefully and roles decided at the proposal stage this is less likely to happen.
Groups working at different speeds
One group may have 'finished' the project after a couple of hours and say they have nothing to do. Remind them it is their responsibility to fill the time allocated to project work and discuss ways they could extend the work they have already completed.
Examples of project work
A project based on readers
In addition to the program being studied by the students are reading more literature on the subject, interest in literary works of American and English writers. To motivate learners, I chose with them the most popular books, most often filmed. (For example, "Jane Eyre", "Romeo and Juliet," "Dracula")
Examples of the work are:
Summaries of the story.
Crosswords / word searches of vocabulary from the story.
Reviews of the book.
Information found about the history of Dracula.
Filmed scene from the book.
Presentation of a clip from the film of the book compared to a scene in the book.
Biographies and photos of actors from the film.
If your class loves songs this could be a good motivation for creating the project.
Possible options for the project:
Make a CD Cover.
Invent the band and the names and biographies of the band members.
Prepare an interview with the band.
Record a song. (Students often borrow the music and write their own lyrics)
Write gig reviews.
Photo shoot of the band.
Design a poster advertising gigs.
There are also many other ideas but I hope this shows the variety of work which can be produced.
In conclusion I can say that project work helps students to express their independence and creativity, so increasing their motivation to study a foreign language. It teaches learners to work in a team, developing a sense of responsibility for each team member. In addition, in the course of the project, learners explore a lot of information, widen their outlook. And the most important advantage of the project work is a break from monotonous tasks and having pleasure from doing homework.
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Номер материала: ДВ-203181
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