02/01/2018

PROJECT-BASED APPROACH (PBA) IN YOUNG FOREIGN LANGUAGE LEARNING CLASSROOMS

What is a project-based approach (PBA)?

It is a way of teaching, similar to CLIL, only with the language aims in mind when organising an activity or a task. Moreover, one of the primary focus of the learning process in the PBA is also socialisation. 

Since it is child-centred learning, the PBA is gradually shaping an independent learner. To achieve that, the aims are oriented in learning the process rather than the results/ information (as it is practised in traditional teaching). Once mastering the process, one may always find a way how to get to the results/information independently. 

Where's the catch?

There is no coursebook, workbook or exercise book. There can, however, be a teachers' guide (manual).

In traditional topic-based concept, the topics are covered one after another (for example, Let's meet, Clothes, Animals, Family etc.). Once you've closed one, children are evaluated, and then you move on.

In PBA, many topics are relevant throughout of the year and are entwined in different projects. Topics (the most straightforward ones are clothes, weather, and activities) are covered at each project, only the vocabulary is different.

What does the manual provide?

The manual provides the essential frame of the PBA, which are the steps in approaching the project and how to organise the activities to address socialisation and child-centred learning.

There is not one manual published yet (at least not the one for the PBA I advocate and practice). But, there is this blog that gives some insides, and there are courses, which you can attend to get some practical experience about the PBA. There is, however, the manual in the writing process.

Let me give you a rough programme-frame of the PBA, just to see the idea.


The PBA programme-frame

PREPARATION:

It is of paramount importance that the teacher him/herself is an independent learner. In that, he/she has the experience of how to learn independently and is, therefore, more open to the presented way of teaching. 

A teacher chooses a project in which different topics are synergetically entwined under the same theme. Also, it is a teacher's job to find/ select the aims and organise the activities through which the aims are addressed.The practice has shown that for the students, the age of six to eight, a yearly cycle of the seasons works excellent.

The concept of the lesson-planning is based on the fixed structure. There are the introduction, body, and conclusion, but have slightly different aims in comparison to the traditional teaching:

The introduction consists of the set of activities wrapped in an introductory routine. Activities are based on the topics, which can be followed throughout the year. Every activity has aims that it covers. For example:
  • Greeting with a 'body count' and/or 'shapes' (aims: warm up with brain gym, greeting, introducing numbers and shapes).
  • Games for socialisation (aims: ice-breaking, establishing connection)
  • Rhythmic game (aims: concentration, vocabulary and/or grammar practice)
  • Poster presentation 'about me', 'about today' (aims: speaking practice)
The body executes the activities of the stages in the project (will be described in detail in my next posts).

The conclusion is a reflection on work and self-evaluation.

THE STEPS OF THE PROJECT:



There is a lot to tell about those project stages. You can read all about it in my next posts. 

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Until my next post, you can read related themes:


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