Friday, March 6, 2015

Assignment 3: Project-based Instruction in English Environment


     Dear Access instructors,
    Using projects in EFL classes requires complex tasks, based on challenging      questions or problems, that give students the opportunity to work relatively         autonomously over extended periods of time and culminate in realistic products   or presentations. This way, project work encourages motivation, fosters group    cohesiveness, and increases expectancy of success in target language, achieving the combination of academic and social goals through language use.


  Let's discover 
an alternative Access teaching method!

Task 1. Study the resources below and give your own definition of what PBL (Project Based Learning) is and what its major advantages are. 

Task 2: Let's analyse how  American Councils Moldova implements Project Based Instruction as part of its Access Microscholarship Program. Analyze the projects listed below, choose 1 project you liked the most, and identify its comprising elements, such as:
  •      Target problems the project addresses;
  •      Project goals from civic and EFL teaching   perspectives
  •      Project beneficiaries and partners;
  •       Project finalities from civic and EFL teaching perspectives;
  •     Project stages. 

Share your findings as a comment to this assignment page.

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Task 3:  The process of developing a project requires from the teacher to be familiar with all stages of a project preparation, and of course, select appropriate project procedures and expected outcomes.

a. Consult the following links: 
b. Post your reflections on the following:
  • What project topic(s) and finalities /outcomes would be more appropriate to your students’ level and your teaching style (maximum 2 phrases)?
    • What challenge(s) might come along in developing and implementing Project Based Instruction with your students  (maximum 2 phrases)? 

    Task 4: Study the resources below:
      and create a project assignment for your Access students related to one of the topics you will be   teaching in March:

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      • Feel free to create your own project following the project assignment template
      • Post the your project  task  as a comment to this assignment.  

      Your project should include the following:  
      •   Project Title;
      • Students’ level;
      • Project idea;
      •  Driving question;
      •  EFL Content Skills and Standards;
      • Collaborative Final Products (for e.g. an online newspaper using Print Press representing the impact of the national diversity on culture);
      •  Local & Global Audience ( the national or international partners);
      • Project steps and schedule;
      •  Needed materials and resources for each stage;
      • Students’ outcomes for each stage (for e.g., a 10-question quiz).

      34 comments:

      1. Task #1
        PBL -- is a special approach to teaching through engaging students to work both outside and inside the class, where they investigate a certain domain, ask questions,make their mini-research, collaborate and involve more spheres of their life together in one goal. In such approach Teacher plays the role of an Instructor and Facilitator,who helps and directs the entire process of learning, and at the same time he takes the control over that.
        The advantages of such approach are: different tools are incorporated all together, such as traditional methods, video materials, real-world situations and people. It develops students' critical thinking skills, independence, working in a team,collaboration.
        For Access students it is even more important as they are automatically involved in the real world together with developing their English language and their environment where they feel comfortable.
        The main advantage is that such projects and approaches focus on community issues ,social problems, make us more cultured, and teaches us live in peaceful society developing global citizenship understanding.

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Dear Emma,

          You offered us a very detailed definition of PBL. One of the biggest advantage of such kind of instruction is that we can reach each students' goals and needs.

          Delete
      2. Task #2
        From all the searched examples of Projects – the most attractive seems “Taking Kits Around the World”. Its goals can be compared with the other projects’ ones. However, within the universal movement occasion, it purposes on enhancing tolerance, teaching love and acceptance of such notion as “the other”. By this students learn how to understand diversity and be generally kinder.
        The beneficiaries here are Access students,the other students involved, definetely teachers’ stuff and the society that was informed, might be local press and media as well.
        Partners are the American Council members and Access members as well.
        Project finalties: the project finalities are aimed on studens, teachers and entire society (that was supposedly informed and involved) to use and implement in teaching the values that are promoted by all the participants: kindness, love, positive attitude. Important here is that all the students can participate in and contribute for the similar activity, in spite of the level of English knowledge. Students learn English and the symbolical value of the Kite. They make video-slide and share pictures with everybody, promoting peace and understanding.
        The stages are the following: creation and training, elaboration, implementation and evaluation. Here we can see how various skills are interweaved. It is all motivating and challenging for this type of work is different from a traditional one and stands for the global issues and the speed of the 21st c, whose creatures modern students are. While elaborating stage students enrich their knowledge in language, they plan, adjust, collect and collaborate. Implementation develops applicability—how well they can perform, play, engage others, take serious decision and participate fully in the activity.

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Dear Emma,

          Thanks for your deep analysis of the project. You have emphasized the most important finalities. And I would like to mention that the direct beneficiary of this project is the entire society first of all.

          Delete
      3. Task #1

        After studying the resources provided on this page I perceive the Projects Based Learning as a strategy of “forcing” students to acquire and develop skills, create a product using the knowledge and tools that a not provided anymore by the teacher, but by the other resources that may be recommended by the teacher.
        Here is the situation when learners can and are encouraged to take responsibility, select the appropriate (for them) strategy and, as the result, increase their language learning ability and confidence.
        I this way, students are not any longer given the FISH, instead they a taught how to catch it and they got the possibility to have FOOD for a lifetime.


        Respectfully,

        Daria

        Hincesti

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Well said, Daria. the PBI represents the approach to create a motivating and inquiring environment when students have to acquire and develop skills in order to accomplish their project goals.

          Delete
      4. Task #2

        Analyzing the projects mentioned below, I focused my attention on “Making Changes through Youth-Civic Engagement Projects” because it aims to develop in teenagers skills I would like my students to have and master.
        The comprising elements of this project are:

        1. Target problems the project addresses: declining civic participation among Moldovan Youths

        2. Project goals from civic and EFL teaching perspectives:
        a) to enhance civic participation among 50 school students
        b) to improve English speaking skills through engaging participants in a set of team work activities

        3. Project beneficiaries and partners:
        The beneficiaries are the 50 school students from Varnita/ Bender and Ungheni
        The partners are the:
        The administration of Ungheni City Hall
        American Corner Ungheni
        Ungheni Regional Youth Resource Center
        The administration of Varnita City Hall
        Youth Association ”Sansa”
        “Alexandru cel Bun” Lyceum form Bender

        4. Project finalities from civic and EFL teaching perspectives: a group of 50 school students having the skills and the motivation to formulate and express their civic opinion and attitude in both, Romanian and English Language.

        5. Project stages: 1. Training Sessions
        2. Project Development
        3. Project Implementation
        4. Project Evaluation

        Respectfully,

        Daria

        HIncesti

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Daria, thank you for sharing your reflections. "Making Changes through Youth Civic Engagement " project is one of the projects that will combine the development of students' language and civic skills through various partnership networks.

          Delete
      5. Task #3

        My Access Students will prefer to participate into a project that involves creative element (like writing story, drawing pictures, doing origami), because these are the activities they do not perform during their regular lessons.
        On the other hand, since there are the digital generation and are always expecting for a quick result, most of the 20 Access Students I am working with have not enough patience to be involved into a long term project.
        That is why I think that I should start to implement the Project Based Learning Method with a 2-4 days (maybe 1 week) term project incorporating artistic elements and some online tools.

        Respectfully,

        Daria

        HIncesti

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Dear Daria,

          I agree that creative elements are very important for the students to efficiently learn. I especially liked that you mentioned origami. There are some regular classes in schools that involve writing stories and drawing pictures, but creating origami is truly something unique and therefore very interesting for the children.
          I also have the same opinion that students nowadays live in a very rapidly evolving world and regular ways of doing projects are not always productive. Hence, the life-span of projects should be relatively short, while the quantity of projects realized should continue to grow. This way, the students will not have any time to get bored and will always be involved because of the numerous topics of the projects. It is nice to come to a class with an open mind and do something new, rather than just continue with the same work during multiple weeks.

          Best Regards,
          Margarita

          Delete
      6. Daria and MargaritaMarch 18, 2015 at 10:33 PM

        Task #4

        Since we are working with the same group of students, we decided to plan and implement a project together.

        • Project Title: The History Behind My Name
        • Students’ level: 20 Access Students from 7th – 10th form
        • Project idea: 20 Access students will explore the origin and meaning of their names, and self-express using a great variety of artistic and online tools
        • EFL Content Skills and Standards:
        Understanding the general meaning of an informative text referred to the meaning and history of their first names
        Comparing objects and emotions, preferences, tastes and intentions
        Drawing and commenting on a drawing (name tag)
        Developing and showing personal interest towards their names’ origin/ meaning and their family history and tradition.

        • Collaborative Final Products: Facebook photo album posted on Theoretical Lyceum “Mihai Eminescu” Facebook page
        • Local & Global Audience: community level
        • Project steps and schedule:
        Stage 1: Analyzing students’ opinion 25.03.15-27.03.15
        Stage 2: Developing the “Names History” questionnaires and “Name Tag” Feedback and Survey questionnaires 25.03.15-27.03.15
        Stage 3: The History Behind My Name - 25.03.15
        Stage 4: Name Origin and Meaning - 27.03.15- 03. 04.15
        Stage 5: Name Tags - 27.03.15
        Stage 6: Feed Back on Name Tags - 27.03.15
        Stage 7: Project Evaluation - 01.04.15-03. 04.15

        • Needed materials and resources for each stage: paper size A4, paper sizes A1, pens, white board, whiteboard markers, computer/ tablets connected to WiFi, printing, 20 questionnaires, feedback survey questionnaires, markers, coloured pencils, coloured paper boards, printing.

        • Students’ outcomes for each stage
        Stage 1: a set of action that will be implemented during the following week
        Stage 2: 20 questionnaires and Feedback survey questionnaires
        Stage 3: 20 questionnaires completed by students
        Stage 4: the wall of names
        Stage 5: 20 Names Tags
        Stage 6: Feedback survey
        Stage 7: pictures posted on lyceum Facebook page


        Respectfully,

        Daria and Margarita

        Access Hincesti

        ReplyDelete
      7. Mihail (ACCESS Ribnita)March 19, 2015 at 8:06 PM

        After acquainting with the materials above, I can certainly say that Project-Based Learning is an efficient approach to teach students English.
        It has a plenty of advantages. Students are free to learn and work together. They may examine materials together and share with the results. They don't get bored this way. Project-Based Learning develops critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills.

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Dear Mihail,

          You're right about the fact that Project-Based Learning is both fun and useful for the students.
          The advantages like the development of critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills are rather impressive. Those skills will help students a lot in real life, since the world does not have instructions for the decisions they should take. When children learn to think independently, to work in a team and communicate efficiently, many doors of opportunities will open up. They will only have to choose which one to enter.

          Best Regards,
          Margarita

          Delete
        2. You are right, Mihail. You just need time and motivation to help your students to learn English through projects. Of course, they will communicate more efficiently and will work in groups. This thing will help to build a huge ACCESS teaching-learning machine.
          Good luck!

          Delete
      8. Task #1

        In every day classrooms, students are required to sit down, listen to the teacher, memorize as much as they can and get a grade for the information that they'll soon forget. Project based learning is a new and more efficient way of acquiring information.
        There are many advantages when it comes to this learning method. First, the students feel more responsible for their work. They have the possibility to approach the subject in any way they want and use the information that THEY find useful, so they will be more careful about it. Second, PBI gives the pupils a stimulation that is not find in traditional classrooms, since the projects are fun and require a high level of interaction among the students. Third, instead of just listening and absorbing the information from the teachers, the pupils will now speak in front of the audience and present their own work, which will make them feel like they are in charge and will intensify their desire to learn.

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Dear Margarita,
          I totally agree with you because indeed sometimes students get bored in lessons and not attract attention to the words of the teacher ,but the method of project is a very useful for teacher and student. Presenting the project by teacher, students are interested in the explanation the theme, and when it comes time to represent their project they take responsibility and understand that thus they represent their skills,then they "turn on" their creativity and own activity.

          Delete
      9. Task #2

        Target problems the project addresses:
        The lack of knowledge about the different possibilities to participate in many educational programs provided by the American Councils.

        Project goals from civic and EFL teaching perspectives:
        Teach other people about Open World, LFP, Flex, Access, ALC, Carnegie and other educational programs.

        Project beneficiaries and partners:
        The ACCESS program and the general audience that participated in the flash-mob. Also, the people who got to attend the event or see the videos.

        Project finalities from civic and EFL teaching perspectives:
        The event was a real success which got the positive feedback from the representatives of all 6 communities who greatly appreciated the youth motivation to increase their education and desire to be involved in many educational programs under the American Councils. Thus, "Access Youth in Action" Flash mob was broadcasted in the local mass media.

        Project stages:
        6 groups of teenagers gathered almost 400 people from Ungheni, Balti, Cahul, Comrat, Chisinau and Varnita/Bender.
        Each region organized the event in a special way, trying to send to their community the general message in form of dance performance, posters, flags, thematic songs and represented American Councils' symbols.

        ReplyDelete
      10. Task #3

        I think that learning about cultural diversity and globalization would be more appropriate both to my teaching style and my students' interest. Cultures are always different and colorful - learning about them is always fun, and students will become more open to differences and therefore be more acceptant/receptive in today's globalized world.

        The challenges could be about diverging views on differences. Some things that are normal in certain cultures might be disturbing to those who have spent their lives in another entourage, and so it would be important to teach acceptance.

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Margarita, you are right when consider that teaching cultural diversity and the sense of globalization might interest your students better- since it is always funny and meaningful to teach culture and develop the sense of being a global citizen.

          Delete
      11. Task #3
        --The most appropriate PBL topics would be “Education is the most powerful tool”, “One Right, One People”, “Heart to Heart” – as they open for our students global issue of a huge importance,that educate in them the sense of humanity and promote peace.
        --The challenges might be linked with the driving question and how to motivate the students to be engaged fully into the activity, to put the final purpose so that could achieve it , both in terms of studying English and the work itself.

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Dear Emma,
          You are perfectly right when speaking about challenges. It is quite difficult to motivate students engage in such kinds of activities. Thet are used to make projects differently and when we come up with specific tasks and assignements at the beginning it is confusing for them and we are the ones to bring light into thier minds.

          Delete
      12. Task #4
        Project Title: A Word from Heart
        Students’ level: Intermediate
        Project idea: To draw out from the heart the word, that reflects kindness and promotes peace
        Driving question: What do I send into the world from my heart?
        EFL Content Skills and Standards: Global issues, Local and National Attitude of the society, Promoting Peace and Acknowledging notion of diversity, kindness and acceptance of all people
        Collaborative Final Products: Video / PowerPoint presentation, statistics, examples, positive vision statement, pictures on Facebook
        Local & Global Audience: teachers’ stuff, students , parents, administrators , community members, officials, pay pals, foreign organizations, media
        Project steps :
        Information – about global issues, world of freedom, diversity, promoting peace, understanding, tolerance, civil awareness
        While elaborating stage students enrich their knowledge in studied notions and language, they plan, adjust, collect and collaborate. Implementation develops applicability—how well they can perform, play, engage others, take serious decision and participate fully. In evaluation the result of applied skills is seen, resonance from the society (if appropriate) and selves to the issue: what does it change on the global scale, for the rest of the people? Does it bring positive changes and peace?
        They draw a word on a piece of paper, than they draw it on their palm, show to each other, take photos of their palms with words, later post them and share; describe their aims and feelings in the afterwords discussions;
        Needed materials and resources for each stage: colored paper size A1, flip-chart, computer/ tablets connected to WiFi, printing, feedback survey questionnaires, markers, coloured markers and paitnings;
        Students’ outcomes for each stage (writing and essay) and final goals:
        information, promote peace, tolerance, civil awareness , sharing with other, drawing conclusions, making decisions, personal views, writing the essays

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Dear Emma,
          This is a wonderful idea of project. I liked the topic you have chosen: promoting tolerance, peace in the world. This is so important in today's society. What I would like to see also in your project is the way you will disseminate the finalities of your project.

          Delete
      13. I strongly believe that learning about cultural diversity and globalization would be more appropriate both to my teaching style and my students' interest. Cultures are always different and colorful - learning about them is always fun, and students will become more open to differences and therefore be more acceptant/receptive in today's globalized world.
        After studying the resources provided on this page I perceive the Projects Based Learning as a strategy of “forcing” students to acquire and develop skills, create a product using the knowledge and tools that a not provided anymore by the teacher, but by the other resources that may be recommended by the teacher.
        Here is the situation when learners can and are encouraged to take responsibility, select the appropriate (for them) strategy and, as the result, increase their language learning ability and confidence.
        I this way, students are not any longer given the FISH, instead they a taught how to catch it and they got the possibility to have FOOD for a lifetime.
        There are many advantages when it comes to this learning method. First, the students feel more responsible for their work. They have the possibility to approach the subject in any way they want and use the information that THEY find useful, so they will be more careful about it. Second, PBI gives the pupils a stimulation that is not find in traditional classrooms, since the projects are fun and require a high level of interaction among the students.

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Vera, you are perfectly right! The responsability of your students comes after yours. ou have to show them the right way of learning and cooperating for their benefit.
          My Access Students will prefer to participate into a project that involves creative element (like writing story, drawing pictures, doing origami), because these are the activities they do not perform during their regular lessons.
          On the other hand, since there are the digital generation and are always expecting for a quick result, most of the 20 Access Students I am working with have not enough patience to be involved into a long term project.
          That is why I think that I should start to implement the Project Based Learning Method with a 2-4 days (maybe 1 week) term project incorporating artistic elements and some online tools.

          Delete
      14. Task #1:
        Project Based Learning is a different way of solving problems via giving to our students the possibility to create a real life project and manage themselves every thing regarding it, to collaborate and gather ideas, information, materials and to develop their critical thinking.
        The PBL is a little bit special because it offeres the chance to decide yourself what exactly you want to present, how you will find the needed information, what are each student's responsibilities during the project. The PBL increases the language use and leaves enough space for us (teacher and students) to decide upon major problems.

        Respectfully, Gheorghe (Causeni)

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Gheorghe, I do agree that PBI is a way to help students observe the information gap they have, and to develop their spirit of taking responsibilities in order to achieve given project tasks. Thank you for sharing your reflections.

          Delete
      15. Task #2:
        I liked the Project "Talking Kites Around the World ''

        Target problems the project addresses;
        Increasing the student's tolerance, acceptance, love.

        Project goals from civic and EFL teaching perspectives
        To involve in the process o fcreating the kite and puting their ideas, creativity on it and of course discussing during the classes about the pointed problems.

        Project beneficiaries and partners;
        Access teams beneficiated really much while joining such a worlwide activity, learning and spending a great time together.
        American Councils sponsored the project by offering the materials and the Access students worked in order to create and promote their kites.

        Project finalities from civic and EFL teaching perspectives;
        The implicated people had the chance to talk and discuss some real life problems, to create a symbol of freedom, tolerance and activism and to collaborate with their peers.

        Project stages.
        1. Training Sessions
        2. Project Development
        3. Project Implementation
        4. Project Evaluation

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Gheorghe, this is a wonderful project with many important aspects: worldwide connections, real life problems, and civic engagement! Students would be fortunate to be involved in a PBS like this.

          Best,
          Sheryl

          Delete
      16. Task #3:

        I'm more interested in some innovative, different topics as globalization, global warming, science findings, recycling... than common, boring ones. I think that talking about some interesting things inspires them to get more information about several areas and generates great results.

        The challenges are realted to the different mentality, viewpoints... and sometimes lack of interest.

        ReplyDelete
        Replies
        1. Dear Gheorghe, I totally agree with you on the innovative topics, just reading your list got me excited about the possibilities. I think the more current the topic and the more it relates to the students' lives, the more buy in you have from students.Even a topic such as dating peaks teenagers interests. I'm currently teaching a unit in Adolescent Development that deals with friendship and dating - the students are eager to give their opinions, it often makes me smile.

          Best,
          Sheryl

          Delete
      17. Olga Taran:Task#1April 14, 2015 at 9:21 PM

        Project Based Learning is an effective and enjoyable way to learn and develop deeper learning competencies. Making an individual project, student uses different methods and sources of information to form a good and interesting project. Thus he better appropriates topics. Students assume responsibility for the project and make more effort in its creation. Through project the students present their own work and competences.

        ReplyDelete
      18. Dear Olga,
        You are completely right when you state that creating a project, the students assume their responsibilities in order to accomplish the project goals, besides the fact that they gain new skills and competences to work analitically.

        ReplyDelete
      19. Task 2

        The target problems adressed by this project are the ignorance about the various opportunities to take part in numerous educational programs organized by the American Councils. The project goals from civic and EFL teaching perspectives are to let others know about Open World, LFP, Flex, Access, ALC, Carnegie and many other educational programs. The project beneficiaries and partners are the ACCESS program and the people that participated in the flash-mob. The project finalities from civic and EFL teaching perspectives were the positive feedback from the representatives of the six communities who loved the youth inspiration and desire to increase their education and the willingness take part in educational programs of the American Councils. This is why I think that "Access Youth in Action" was a real success. Six groups of teenagers gathered almost 400 people from Ungheni, Balti, Cahul, Comrat, Chisinau and Varnita/Bender.
        Each region organized the event in a special way, trying to send to their community the general message in form of dance performance, posters, flags, thematic songs and represented American Councils' symbols.

        ReplyDelete