This article deals with implementing project work as way of organizing student`s independent work in foreign language in medical universities. Research was lasted for 7 weeks and the main points were distinguishing the project-based learning as one of the appropriate methods in teaching English. During the research the following methods were used: theoretical analysis, empirical, and statistical. The monitoring of effectiveness of project method use in teaching a foreign language was made. This article purports to be pragmatic in focus, linking theory with practice, and providing practitioners with a tool for effectively implementing project-based learning in foreign language contexts.
In the period of globalization, a foreign language is realized as key resource of our society. That is why it is impossible to underestimate the meaning of a foreign language as a general subject which is useful for the development of personal professional formation. There are favorable conditions for professionally- orientated foreign language teaching in it. The problem of considering specialization in the process of foreign language teaching is urgent. In this connection, the urgent necessity to coordinate foreign language teaching with future profession of students arises. And so, at a given institution the principle of professional orientation of teaching is the main principle which must be taken into consideration and realized in foreign language teaching.
Student-centered education, method of co-operation, method of projects - all these techniques help in a way to solve the problem of motivation, to inspire the students to learn a foreign language, to open their hidden potential abilities, for them to acquire a new language with enthusiasm.
The method of projects is widely used all over the world mainly because it allows to combine all the students' knowledge from different fields to solve one problem, and it also gives the opportunity to put these knowledge into practice, producing new ideas at the same time. Project work is not a new methodology. Its benefits have been widely recognized for many years in the teaching of subjects like science, geography, and history. So some teachers have been doing project work in their language lessons for a long time.
Reasons for Using Project Method.
A project is an extended task which usually integrates language skills work through a number of activities. These activities involve working towards an agreed goal and may include planning, the gathering of information through reading, listening, interviewing, etc., discussion and processing of the information, problem solving, and oral or written reporting, and display. According to Polat E.S., a method is a didactic category, a unity of techniques, of operations, aiming to master some field of practical or theoretical knowledge, or some skill. It's also a way of cognition, a way of organization of the process of cognition. That is why, when we speak about the method of projects, we mean the way of achieving the aim through the detailed elaboration of the problem.
The method of projects is based on the idea, which is the essence of the concept “project” and on its practical direction at the result, which can be got when solving any important problem. This result can be seen, realized and put into practice. In order to get this result, it's necessary to teach the children to think by themselves; to find and solve problems, using knowledge from different fields; to foresee the results and possible consequences of different variants of solving these problems.
Project-based learning has been associated with the "situated learning" perspective of James G. Greeno (2006) and on the constructivist theories of Jean Piaget. A more precise description of the processes of PBL given by Blumenfeld et al. says that, "Projectbased learning is a comprehensive perspective focused on teaching by engaging students in investigation. Within this framework, students pursue solutions to nontrivial problems by asking and refining questions, debating ideas, making predictions, designing plans and/or experiments, collecting and analyzing data, drawing conclusions, communicating their ideas and findings to others, asking new questions, and creating artifacts." (Blumenfeld, et al., 1991) The basis of PBL lies in the authenticity or real-life application of the research. Students working as a team are given a "driving question" to respond to or answer, then directed to create an artifact (or artifacts) to present their gained knowledge. Artifacts may include a variety of media such as writings, art, drawings, threedimensional representations, videos, photography, or technologybased presentations
According to traditional historiography, the project idea is a genuine product of the American Progressive education movement. The idea was thought to have originally been introduced in 1908 as a new method of teaching agriculture, but educator William H. Kilpatrick elaborated the concept and popularized it worldwide in his famous article, "The Project Method" (1918). More recently, Michael Knoll has traced the project method to architectural education in sixteenth-century Italy and to engineering education in eighteenthcentury France. This illustrates that the project of the architect-like the experiment of the scientist, the sandbox exercise of the staff officer, and the case study of the jurist-originated in the professionalization of an occupation.
The project method was first introduced into colleges and schools when graduating students had to apply on their own the skills and knowledge they had learned in the course of their studies to problems they had to solve as practicians of their trade. With some simplification, five phases in the history of the project method can be differentiated:
- 1590-1765: At the academies of architecture in Rome and Paris, advanced students work on a given problem, such as designing a monument, fountain, or palace.
- 1765-1880: The project becomes a regular teaching method; newly established schools of engineering in France, Germany, and Switzerland adopt the idea. In 1865, the project is introduced by William B. Rogers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology into the United States.
- 1880-1918: Calvin M. Woodward adapts the project concept to schoolwork. At his Manual Training School students actually produce the projects they designed. Gradually the idea spreads from manual training (Charles R. Richards) to vocational education (David. S. Snedden, Rufus W. Stimson) and general science (John Woodhull).
- 1918-1965: Kilpatrick conceives the project broadly as "wholehearted purposeful activity proceeding in a social environment." After being criticized by Boyd H. Bode, John Dewey, and other leading American Progressive educators, Kilpatrick's approach
loses its attraction in the United States, yet receives general approval in Europe, India, and the Soviet Union.
The 1970s: Kilpatrick's project method, now taken as the only adequate method of teaching in a democratic society, is rediscovered in Germany, the Netherlands, and other European countries. Under the influence of British primary school education, U.S. educators attempt to redefine the project, viewing it as an important supplement to the traditional teacher-oriented, subjectcentered curriculum.
Examples of project work
In my classroom students have done a great deal of projects from mini-project to big projects which were presented me as a independent work. As cross cultural mini-projects, group projects called “Astana”, “London Sightseeing Tour”, “A successful person“ were carried out. These projects involved:
- collecting information,
- drawing pictures, maps, diagrams, and charts,
- cutting out pictures,
- arranging texts and visuals,
- presenting information in poster format,
- preparing Power Point presentations,
- giving presentations.
In these projects students had the opportunity to use the knowledge they had gained about other subjects in the English class. Project work clearly encourages this. So, the cross-curricular approach was used as CLIL with a dual focus: content (on another subject) and the language, which is relevant to that content. The projects required the knowledge of the history and traditions, culture and politics of Kazakhstan and others countries. Projects called “British and Kazakhstan Educational Systems at the Crossroads.
The main aim of the projects was to study and understand how the traditional values of the Kazakhstan and Great Britain have developed and affect various aspects of life in these countries. The other subject of the project research is the need of new national values for both countries in the 21st century. As the 21st century begins, the nations of the world are caught up in a whirlwind of change.
We chose these subjects because people are naturally curious about each other, about life and lifestyle in different countries. The most interesting and hard to answer questions are:
- What do the people believe in?
- What do they value most in life?
- What motivates them?
- Why do they behave the way they do?
In our project we tried to find answers to the questions. In the project students studied and found significant factors influencing Kazakh and British history, life and tradition values and beliefs in both countries; the contrast of values developed in completely different cultures has been shown. The main aim of our research was to show the people's point of view on the subject of Kazakh and British values, the need for the emergence and adoption of new ones. The project covered such issues as:
- Traditional Kazakh and British values.
- Education in Kazakhstan and Great Britain
- Leisure time: organized sport and television.
- Family and the role of the family in society.
- The need for new values in the new 21st century world.
I've found out that this method is very effective at the stages of generalization, consolidation and revising of the material, it's especially important when realizing the knowledge in practice. I mean in student`s independent work. The most attractive point is the influence of the method on the students' motivation, since the method of projects let the teacher turn the English language lessons into a creative research laboratory, where every pupil is involved into an active creative cognitive process. The students master their speaking and writing skills, widen their outlook, develop their communicative abilities, ability to discuss in English. Every student learns to express his thoughts and to stand for his viewpoint, to prove it with proper arguments.
Using the results of the projects, Power Point presentations on the projects were prepared and the projects were presented. The sub skill which was acquired by the students during the projects work was development of presentation skills.
thing that, this method can lead among the other innovative technologies, because, the world is changing every day. And we need to train students to be ready to solve the problem dealing with their future job.
The main principles of project teaching, the technology of its adoption in teaching process, and some kinds of projects used in studying are reviewed. Monitoring was conducted under the following criteria: percent of progress, percent of quality of knowledge, and the level of motivation in studying English.
The experience showed that in the process of project work students' general educational abilities, special abilities, and communication abilities are developed.
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