#ELTchat Summary Wednesday 13 March 2019 Project-based Learning

A PLN for ELT Professionals

#ELTchat Summary Wednesday 13 March 2019 Project-based Learning

from Teachthough blog post “13 Brilliant Outcomes Of Project-Based Learning”


@Marisa_C @SueAnnan @fionaljp @JonjoTESOL @Michael37093679 @ClareBurke_ELT @patrickelt

What is Project-Based Learning (PBL)?

@jonjoTESOL and @fionaljp started the chat by deciding a good place to start would be with a definition. @fionaljp tweeted a link to a post by Katherine Bilsborough on the British Council BBC Teaching English website.

Katherine defines Task-Based Learning and then defines Project-Based Learning by comparing the two approaches. Both take the task as the central focus and both are learner-centred approaches.  She suggests that PBL could be considered as being even more learner-centred as the task is extended beyond the lesson (and possibly beyond the classroom) for a specified length of time – possibly the duration of the course, the term or the academic year.

@jonjoTESOL asked whether PBL is simply practising the language as opposed to learning the language and @patrickelt responded by saying: ‘Some models have a language learning focus post task and I think this can work. By doing the task, learners can see the gap between what they wanted to do and what they needed to do so may be more receptive to language focus.’

Arguments for PBL

@jonjoTESOL quoted John Dewey as an argument for PBL:

PBL can bring life into the classroom.

See Katherine Bilsborough’s post  for more advantages of this approach.

Possible Problems

The following specific aspects of PBL were mentioned as being possibly problematic:

  • The teacher’s role
  • An extended timeframe

Examples of PBL in ELT classrooms

@jonjoTESOL asked ‘Does anybody have any examples of PBL that they are proud of? I’d love to see the final results of some’ and he received the following replies:

@Marisa_C Not on hand – but an example: my Ss on an English for Teachers course undertook all the planning and writing of a one-day conference on PBL – programme, blurbs, letters, emails, abstracts invitations posters etc those were the final products of their work. (English for Teachers Course at my centre)

@fionaljp I have set tasks where the focus is on investigating and responding to an question or challenge.

Please let us know in the comments below if you have any examples of using PBL in the ELT classroom.  Looking forward to hearing…