Moving Students Toward a Perfect Score with Project-Based Learning
Project-based learning has been billed as an effective means for promoting purposeful language learning for well over two decades in ESL and EFL settings. During this time, projects have been successfully incorporated into language classrooms with young, adolescent, and adult learners, as well as classrooms with general, vocational, academic, and specific language aims. Project work has proven to be an ideal complement to more traditional language instruction. Reported benefits include improved language abilities, extended content learning, mastery of real-life skills, and sustained student motivation, engagement, participation, enjoyment, and creativity. In this presentation, I will (a) provide a rationale for incorporating project-based learning into EFL classrooms, (b) summarize the benefits of project work, (c) outline different types of project work, (d) introduce successfully implemented projects that can be adapted for other instructional contexts, and (e) present an easy-to-use, seven-step process for implementing project-based learning in EFL contexts. Special attention will be paid to the points in the process where meaningful language-skills instruction can be integrated.
Fredricka L. Stoller is a Professor of English at Northern Arizona University, where she teaches in the MA-TESL and Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics programs. She has trained EFL teachers in Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Panama, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Slovakia, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey (as a senior Fulbright lecturer), and Ukraine. She is co-author of Teaching and Researching Reading (2nd ed., 2011, with W. Grabe, Pearson Longman); co-editor of A Handbook for Language Program Administrators (2nd ed., 2012, with M. A. Christison, Alta); and co-author of Write Like a Chemist (2008, with M. Robinson et al., Oxford University Press). Her professional areas of interest include L2 reading, disciplinary writing, project work, content-based instruction, language teaching methodology, and curriculum design.
Techniques for Developing Students’ Reading Fluency
Second language reading is a complex skill that requires main idea comprehension, discourse awareness, vocabulary learning, reading strategies, reading for different purposes, motivation, and fluency (Grabe, 2009; Nation, 2009). Sadly, fluency training is often neglected in EFL classrooms, even though research has demonstrated that fluency contributes to students’ reading comprehension abilities. Teachers sometimes believe that they lack the time to devote to fluency training in their classes; others assume that students will develop fluency on their own, over time; and many are simply unaware of the many activities that can be easily integrated into their classrooms to promote reading fluency. Workshop participants will be introduced to the key elements of reading fluency (e.g., automaticity, accuracy, reading rate, word- and passage-reading fluency) and then explore various ways in which reading fluency can be addressed in the classroom with existing reading materials.