Project-based learning has always fascinated me. All started with a workshop conducted by the British Council during the period I worked in Bahrain. When I was first introduced to the idea, I did not feel very comfortable with it. This could be accounted for by a simple reason: when your task as a language teacher consists of ‘teaching a textbook’, from cover to cover, within a limited time framework, and when your main job is to prepare your students to get ready for an exams at the end of term or year, the idea to base your teaching on a project that may elapse over a long period of time seems unreasonable. But with my first experience with independent schools, I had a second thought about it. Actually, I took advantage of the ‘Film Club’ unit to try it out. Over two weeks, I divided my class into groups with different tasks. The lessons usually started with a trigger like a presentation, a short video, or a reading, then there was an explanation of each student or group’s task, making room for collaborative work. I transformed the class into actors, directors, reporters, graphic designers and technician with the goal to write and produce a movie, design a poster, and write a review. Needless to say that the majority of the students were involved and that it was very easy for me to get them listen to me. In the end, the result was impressive. Students were proud of their work, and kept talking about the project for the following two years.
This week’s session dealing with project-based learning was very interesting in many respects. Apart from the project ideas presented, I liked the discussions with my colleagues concerning the functional and language skills that can be reached through the implementation of projects, and the way to guarantee the effectiveness of class projects. This session revived in me the idea that I have to integrate one or two projects in my teaching this year.