Project-based Learning as clil approach to Teaching Language




НазваниеProject-based Learning as clil approach to Teaching Language
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Project-based Learning as CLIL Approach to Teaching Language

Liubov Desiatova


Liubov Desiatova is a teacher at Moscow school # 1542. She is interested in new methods of teaching and learning English language. Current interests are CLIL and using drama in teaching children. She also enjoys working with teenagers. E-mail: charliew@mail.ru

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Introduction

Project-based learning

What benefits does project work bring to the language class?

Integration of language with other skills

Language and culture in the project approach

Cross-curricular studies

Examples of project work from a Moscow school

Conclusion

References


Introduction


Successful language learning can be achieved when students have the opportunity to receive instruction, and at the same time experience real-life situations in which they can acquire the language. CLIL is a tool for intercultural learning. Expressing yourself in a language other than the mother tongue is a path towards intercultural development. In Russian schools CLIL approach is quite a new idea, but it is very motivating for both teachers and students.


Project-based learning


Project work is not a new methodology. Its benefits have been widely recognized for many years in the teaching of subjects like science, geography, and history. So some teachers have been doing project work in their language lessons for a long time.


A project is an extended task which usually integrates language skills work through a number of activities. These activities involve working towards an agreed goal and may include planning, the gathering of information through reading, listening, interviewing, etc., discussion and processing of the information, problem solving, and oral or written reporting, and display. Project-based learning has been promoted within ELT for a number of reasons. Learners' use of language as they negotiate plans, analyze, 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.


What benefits does project work bring to the language class?


Pupils 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 the communicative approach. These are:


  • concern for motivation, that is, how the learners relate to the task;

  • concern for relevance, that is, how the learners relate to the language.

  • concern for educational values, that is, how the language curriculum relates to

the general educational development of the learner.


Firstly, project work is very personal. Secondly, project work is a very active medium. It is a kind of structured playing. Students do not just receive and produce words, but they also learn through doing.


Integration of language with other skills

To distinguish CLIL from ELT we could say that ELT focuses on learning the language, whereas CLIL focuses on learning trough English.


Project work creates connections between the foreign language and the learner’s own world. It encourages the use of a wide range of communicative skills, enables learners to exploit other fields of knowledge, and provides opportunities for them to write about the things that are important in their own lives. It is widely recognized that one of the most important benefits of learning a foreign language is the opportunity to learn about other cultures. However, it is important, particularly with an international language like English, that this is not a one-way flow.


The purpose of learning a foreign language is to make communication between two cultures possible. English, as an international language, should not be just for talking about the ways of the English speaking world. It should also be a means of telling the world about your own culture. Project work helps to create this approach.


Language and culture in the project approach

PIC.1

Cross-curricular studies

Cross-curricular approaches to learning languages are encouraged. For language teaching this means that students should have the opportunity to use the knowledge they gain in other subjects in the English class. Project work clearly encourages this and promotes a sense of achievement. Finally, project work gives a clear sense of achievement in different fields of studying. It enables all students to produce a worthwhile product.


Examples of project works from a Moscow school.

In my classroom students have done a great deal of projects from mini-project to big projects which were presented at Moscow students’ conference “Lingva 2007”. As cross cultural mini-projects, group projects called “Images of Russia”, “Moscow Sightseeing Tour”, “A successful person“ were carried out. These projects involved:


  • collecting information,

  • drawing pictures, maps, diagrams, and charts,

  • cutting out pictures,

  • arranging texts and visuals,

  • colouring,

  • presenting information in poster format,

  • preparing Power Point presentations,

  • giving presentations.


In these projects students had the opportunity to use the knowledge they had gained about other subjects in the English class. Project work clearly encourages this. So, the cross-curricular approach was used as CLIL with a dual focus: content (on another subject) and the language, which is relevant to that content. The projects required the knowledge of the history and traditions, culture and politics of Russia and others countries. Projects called “American and Russian Educational Systems at the Crossroads: The United States and Russia in the 21st century” and “American and Russian Values the Crossroads: The United States and Russia in the 21st century” were carried out by 10-th grade students.


PIC.2 PIC.3


The main aim of the projects was to study and understand how the traditional values of the United States of America and Russia have developed and affect various aspects of life in these countries. The other subject of the project research is the need of new national values for both countries in the 21st century. As the 21st century begins, the nations of the world are caught up in a whirlwind of change. Should Americans and Russians adopt new values in the new world?


We chose these subjects because people are naturally curious about each other, about life and lifestyle in different countries. The most interesting and hard to answer questions are:


  • What do the people believe in?

  • What do they value most in life?

  • What motivates them?

  • Why do they behave the way they do?


In our project we tried to find answers to the questions. In the project students studied and found significant factors influencing Russian and American history, life and tradition values and beliefs in both countries; the contrast of values developed in completely different cultures has been shown.


The main aim of our research was to show the people’s point of view on the subject of Russian and Americans values, the need for the emergence and adoption of new ones. The project covered such issues as:


  • Traditional Russian and American values.

  • The Russian religious heritage compared with American religious heritage.

  • Government and politics in Russia and the USA.

  • Education in Russia and the USA.

  • Leisure time: organized sport and television.

  • Family and the role of the family in society.

  • The need for new values in the new 21st century world.



The method of our research was a sociological poll among different groups of people in Moscow. Several questionnaires for different issues to be studied were prepared and asked. Then the results of the poll were analyzed. The outcome was presented in the form of tables and diagrams as part of the project.


In the final part of the project the students arrived at the conclusion that as our world moves into the 21st century the American and the Russian people and their values have reached another historic crossroads. We can be certain of only one thing, namely that the rapid pace of change will continue. The demands of the 21st century may compel us to create and adopt new great values to respond to these changes as the events of the 21st century unfold.


This work included some translation work. A lot of the source material for projects (magazine articles, interviews, texts from reference books, etc.) was in the mother tongue, i.e. Russian. The material in the project provided useful translation activities. In the project the students had to interview people in their native language but report their findings in English. Then writing followed, finally there were plenty of opportunities in different stages of work on the projects for learners to practice oral skills. Project work should be seen as a chance to practice the most difficult of all skills - writing, collecting information, analyzing and systematizing the findings.


Using the results of the projects, Power Point presentations on the projects were prepared and the projects were presented at conference “Lingva 2007”. The sub skill which was acquired by the students during the projects work was development of presentation skills.


Conclusion


Projects based learning has a lot of advantages. Working on projects, mentioned above, students had an opportunity to practice and learn English language and at the same time they gained a lot of new information and developed various important skills. For example, while preparing group projects called “Images of Russia”, students developed such sub skills as creating posters, presenting information in different visual forms and self assessing. Group projects “Moscow Sightseeing Tour” were very interesting and the work on them involved a lot of research on Moscow sights and their history, Russian cultural heritage. Also students learnt how to present Moscow and its culture and traditions to people from different countries and in addition they gained such important skills as being cross-cultural mediators and tour guides for foreign tourists. Project called “American and Russian Values the Crossroads: The United States and Russia in the 21st century” was based on integration of studying different school subjects: history, literature, social studies, languages. Students clearly understood their relation and interdependence. During creative work on this project students earned valuable sub skills in collecting information from various sources, analyzing and systematizing their findings. As well students learnt how to present the results of their research effectively in the form of tables and diagrams. All the mentioned aspects of projects based learning show that it is a true CLIL approach to language teaching and learning.


References

Fried-Booth, D. L. 1987, Project Work, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hutchinson, T. 1991, Introduction to Project Work, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Datesman, M.K., Jo Ann Crandall, 1997, The American Ways., Prentice hall Regents,


Counts, George S. 1995, Education and the Foundation of Human Freedom, University of Pittsburg Press,

V.O. Klyuchevsky. 1956, Works. Moscow: Gospolitizdat, Vol. 1, pp. 313-314. – Russ. Ed.

N.M. Lebedeva, Psikhologichesky Zhurnal, 2000, No. 3. Russian People’s Basic Values at the Turn of the 21st Century.

Dr Yasin, Report at the international conference “Modernization of the Russian Economy: Social Aspects,” April 2003, Moscow.

www.wikipedia

Greeley, Andrew M. 1997, Religion and Politics in America, John Knox Press


The CLIL - Teaching Other Subject Through English can be viewed here.

The Secondary Teaching course can be viewed here.

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