Monday, December 19, 2011

Australia: a project with young learners of English

Here you are a project that I carried out with my class of grade 6 (11 year olds) about Australia during this term.Australia
View more presentations from Enric Calvet. And this is one of the outcomes...
In spite of being quite simple (I had to deal with strong diversity and mixed ability)  There is no  reason to avoid challenging and high cognitive demand activities. What is a project? In the primary ESL classroom, a project is the work leading to the production of a real outcome in English: a poster, a booklet, a magazine, a play, a video, an audio record, etc. It may be the work of one pupil, but more frequently is the collaborative work of a number of pupils. One key element of all projects is the “topic”. Whether the learners are working individually or in groups they are all concerned with the same topic. The characteristic of a project is that the learning comes from the “process”:  although the teacher does not ‘control’ every stage of the process in a project, the work which leads to the result it is more important than the results itself.
Children at project working
In a project the students will use a wide range of language: vocabulary and grammar, a variety of language and thinking skills and often knowledge which may have come from different parts of the curriculum. In this sense a project done in the English language class is very close to the CLIL methodology, in which Content and Language are learnt in an integrated way. Because the learners are combining so many different skills (competences) and areas of knowledge, it is sometimes difficult to say exactly what the children are learning and how to evaluate these  learning. In any project they may be learning many different social skills:
  • How to work with other people.
  • How to share work.
  • How to delegate work.
  • How to appreciate the work of others.
  • How to work alone.
  • How to take responsibility for a task.
But they may also be learning to use scissors, to design a neat page, to use a variety of ICT tools or dictionaries, to speak clearly...

The teacher can suggest the original idea or topic, assist in the planning process, scaffold the learning, and provide advice in the actual work, but the project is essentially the work of the children.

© Enric Calvet

1 comment:

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