Project Work in Teaching English (43422)

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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND SCIENCE OF UKRAINE

IVAN FRANKO NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF L’VIV

COLLEGE OF EDUCATION












PROJECT WORK IN TEACHING ENGLISH



Course paper

presented by

a 4th-year student

Ivanna Linitska

Supervised by

Zadunayska Y. V.,

Teacher of English





L’VIV – 2010





Table of Contents


Introduction

Chapter I. Project Work in Teaching English

1.1 Characteristics of Project Work

1.2 Types of Project Work

1.3 Organizing Project Work

Chapter II. Examples of Project Work Activities

2.1 Project Work Activities for the Elementary Level

2.2 Project Work Activities for the Intermediate Level

2.3 Project Work Activities for the Advanced Level

Conclusions

List of References






Introduction


The theme of the course paper is “Project Work in Teaching English”.

The objectives of the paper are to highlight the importance of project work in teaching English, to describe its main peculiarities and types, to discover how it influences the students during the educational process and if it helps to learn the language.

The problem of using project work in teaching English is of great importance. Project work is characterized as one of the most effective methods of teaching and learning a foreign language through research and communication, different types of this method allow us to use it in all the spheres of the educational process. It involves multiskill activities which focus on a theme of interest rather than of specific language tasks and helps the students to develop their imagination and creativity. Nevertheless, teachers are not keen on the idea of providing project work into their lessons because of the disadvantages this method has. The main idea of project work is considered to be based on teaching students through research activities and stimulating their personal interest.

The research topic of the course paper is the process of teaching and learning a foreign language with the help of project work.

The research focus of the paper is the content of project work activities.

The research tasks are set as follows: to describe the principal characteristics of project work, to identify the types of projects and to analyse their benefits and pecularities, to analyse the project work organizing procedure.

The fundamental researches in the given field were carried out by such prominent scientists and methodologists as Legutke M., Thomas H., Heines S., Brumfit C., Hutchinson T., Fried-Booth D. and others.

Legutke and Thomas in their book “Process and Experience in the Language Classroom” suggest and analyse three types of projects: encounter projects, which enable students to make contact with native speakers; text projects which encourage students to use English language texts, either a range of them to research a topic or one text more intensively, for example, a play to read, discuss, dramatize, and rehearse; class correspondence projects which involve letters, audio cassettes, photographs, etc. as exchanges between learners in different countries.

Another explorer of the Project Work Method, Brumfit, in “Communicative Methodology in Language Teaching” provides the analysis of projects in which advanced adult students elect to work in groups to produce a radio programme about their own country. A range of topics, for example, ethnic groups, religion, education, are assigned to the groups, who research their topic and write and rehearse a script.

Hutchinson in “Introduction to Project Work” dwells upon a project on ‘Animals in Danger’ for secondary school students, in which they use knowledge from Science and Geography to research threatened species, write an article, and make a poster.

Fried-Booth in his book “Project Work” suggests a more teacher-directed example suitable for junior learners at an elementary level, in which they are asked to collect food labels or wrappings from tins, cartons, packets, etc. for a period of a week. These are used to create a wall display with a map of the world illustrated with the labels, which are attached to the relevant countries of origin and export with coloured threads and pins. The map is then used for oral practice and controlled writing.

Another scientist, Haines, in “Projects for the EFL Classroom” considers four types of project work, namely: informational and research projects, survey projects, production projects, and performance and organizational projects.

The theoretical value of the course paper is in the generalization and detailed analysis of the fundamental characteristics of project work, the difference between the types of project work and their effectiveness.

The practical value of the paper lies in the selection of various project work English teaching procedures.





Chapter I. Project Work in Teaching English


1.1 Characteristics of Project Work


A project is an extended piece of work on a particular topic where the content and the presentation are determined principally by the learners. The teacher or the textbook provides the topic, but the project writers themselves decide what they write and how they present it. This learner-centred characteristic of project work is vital, as we shall see when we turn now to consider the merits of project work. It is not always easy to introduce a new methodology, so we need to be sure that the effort is worthwhile. Students do not feel that English is a chore, but it is a means of communication and enjoyment. They can experiment with the language as something real, not as something that only appears in books. Project work captures better than any other activity the three principal elements of a communicative approach.

These are:

a) a concern for motivation, that is, how the learners relate to the task.

b) a concern for relevance, that is, how the learners relate to the language.

c) a concern for educational values, that is, how the language curriculum relates to the general educational development of the learner. [7,40]

A project is an extended task which usually integrates language skills through a number of activities. These activities combine in working towards an agreed goal and may include planning, gathering of information through reading, listening, interviewing, discussion of the information, problem solving, oral or written reporting, display, etc.

Learners' use of language as they negotiate plans, analyse, and discuss information and ideas is determined by genuine communicative needs. At the school level, project work encourages imagination and creativity, self-discipline and responsibility, collaboration, research and study skills, and cross-curricular work through exploitation of knowledge gained in other subjects. Successful use of project work will clearly be affected by such factors as availability of time, access to authentic materials, receptiveness of learners, the possibilities for learner training, and the administrative flexibility of institutional timetabling. [1,38]

Project work leads to purposeful language use because it requires personal involvement on the part of the students from the onset of a project, students, in consultation with their instructor, must decide what they will do and how they will do it, and this includes not only the content of the project, but also the language requirements. So from this point project work emerges as a practical methodology that puts into practice the fundamental principles of a communicative approach to language teaching. It can thus bring considerable benefits to our language classroom, like:

  • 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.

  • Authentic tasks and therefore the language input are more authentic.

  • 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 so it is more learner centred.

  • Learners often get help from parents for project work thus involving the parent more in the child's learning. If the project is also displayed parents can see it at open days or when they pick the child up from the school.

  • A break from routine and the chance to do something different.

  • A context is established which balances the need for fluency and accuracy.[1,40]

It would be wrong to pretend that project work does not have its problems. Teachers are often afraid that the project classroom will be noisier than the traditional classroom and that this will disturb other classes in the school, but it does not have to be noisy. Students should be spending a lot of the time working quietly on their projects: reading, drawing, writing, and cutting and pasting. In these tasks, students will often need to discuss things and they may be moving around to get a pair of scissors or to consult a reference book, but this is not an excuse to make a lot of noise. If students are doing a survey in their class, for example, there will be a lot of moving around and talking. However, this kind of noise is a natural part of any productive activity. Indeed, it is useful to realize that the traditional classroom has quite a lot of noise in it, too. There is usually at least one person talking and there may be a tape recorder playing, possibly with the whole class doing a drill. There is no reason why cutting out a picture and sticking it in a project book should be any noisier than 30 or 40 students repeating a choral drill. The noise of the well-managed project classroom is the sound of creativity.


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