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Consortium Workshop Award 2018

The Fall 2018 Award winning proposal is for a workshop on Project-Based Language Teaching and Learning to be held at Yale University on October 25 - 26, 2019.

Proposed by:

Angela Lee-Smith (Yale Univ.)
Joowon Suh (Columbia Univ.)
Meejeong Song (Cornell Univ.)



This workshop focuses on a pedagogical issue across languages: project-based learning (PBL). The keynote session will present informative and practical guidelines to help the participants explore the principles and benefits of PBL for language teaching and learning in higher education settings. Next, the workshop panel of lightning talks will showcase various projects that language colleagues designed, implementing a range of pedagogical approaches and purposes, and are currently using in their language classrooms. To highlight practical applications, the workshop will facilitate in-depth discussion and hands-on group work to enable participants to develop/refine their own projects, based on their interests and curriculum. Finally, the workshop will invite the participants to collaboratively contribute to build the online project repository through the consortium platform and share their projects with language teaching practitioners.


Why PBL?

Project-Based Learning (PBL) is a student-centered, dynamic, active and authentic learning approach in which students gain a deeper understanding and greater range of language skills by working for an extended period of time to explore and complete authentic, engaging and complex tasks in an interconnected way (Levy, 1997; Moss & Van Duzer, 1998; Stoller, 2002, 2006; Fragoulis, Tsiplakides, & Tsiplakides, 2009; Thomas, 2017). 

PBL provides learners with a number of pedagogical benefits and involves a variety of approaches and methods, including Task-based, Communicative, Multiliteracies-based, Multimodal, Technology-based, Content-based, Standards-based, Geography/Place-based, Arts-based, and Community-based. Therefore, PBL has become a prominent language teaching approach at many levels and in various contexts (Beckett, 1999; Beckett & Miller, 2006; Fried-Booth, 2002; Kobayashi, 2003; Levis & Levis, 2003; Luongo Orlando, 2001; Mohan & Beckett, 2003; Weinstein, 2004). 

Overall, many studies show the benefits and efficacy of PBL. Positive outcomes include increases in level of student engagement and motivation (Thomas, 2000; Walker & Leary, 2009), heightened interest in content, more robust development of problem-solving strategies and critical thinking (Beckett&Miller,2006;Horan,Lavaroni,&Beldon,1996;Mergendoller,Maxwell,&Bellisimo,2006;Tretten&Zachariou,1995), and greater depth of learning and transfer of skills to new situations (Hmelo-Silver, 2007; Thomas, 2000; Barron, et al., 1998). In addition, students can become independent and able to apply their skills to real-world tasks (Finkelstein et al., 2010; Kirschner, 2006). Through PBL experiences, students also improve their ability to work collaboratively and resolve conflicts (Beckett & Miller, 2006; ChanLin, 2008). Integrating authentic projects in language classrooms may have practical challenges for teachers. However, projects can lead language programs and courses in a way that reduces such challenges and limitations in several respects, such as limitations of language textbooks and challenges of incorporating the World-readiness Standards Goals for Learning Language (5Cs) (Lee-Smith, 2017).

The way PBL intersects with teaching approaches can be clearly illustrated. Pedagogically, PBL can strengthen the following principles and practices in relation to different approaches:

• Content-based Approach: Content selection for curricular needs (e.g., arts, film, media, geography/places, history, politics, economic practices, literature, social issues)

• Task-based Approach: Authenticity; real-world tasks; project tasks

• Communicative Approach: Emphasis on learning to communicate through interaction with the target language

• Community-based Approach: The linking of classroom language and cultural learning with language use; interacting with real speakers of the target language and culture outside the classroom  

• Multiliteracies Practices: Creativity and Critical Thinking; multiple literacies; modes of meaning-making

• Learner-centered Approach: Active learning; fostering learner autonomy; the active involvement of the learners; real-world applications 

Furthermore, PBL can be easily implemented for the Standards-based language and culture curriculum across languages and levels in higher education settings. By working through projects, students have opportunities to develop well-rounded 5 C Standard goal areas – Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons and Communities (ACTFL 2015). At the center of language learning is Communication. Communicative competence cannot be fully achieved without gaining the knowledge and understanding of the Cultures. Knowledge of other languages and cultures affords individuals with Connections. Students are able to recognize that there are many ways to view the world through Comparisonsand contrasts between the target and native languages and cultures. Ultimately, studying another language provides the student with ways to establish multilingual Communities both locally and internationally. Thus, PBL can help learners meet the standards effectively with real-life tasks such as arts appreciation; engaging with communities; community-service learning; multiliteracies practices; building critical thinking and analytical skills through media and technology; and enhancing intercultural competence through meaningful communication. 

Program (Tentative)

Friday, October 25, 2019         

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.              

Workshop Opening 

Welcome by Nelleke Van Deusen-Scholl, Director of the Center for Language Study, Yale University

Keynote Presentation

Julio Rodriguez 

Director, National Foreign Language Resource Center (NFLRC), University of Hawaii at Monoa 

5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.                Opening Reception 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.                Breakfast    

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.             Panel I - Lightning Talks: Project Showcase           

Telecollaboration-based project (Joowon Suh, Korean, Columbia University)

Place-based / Community-based project (Angela Lee-Smith, Korean, Yale University) 

Arts-based project (Angelina Craig-Florez, Spanish, Columbia University)

Q & A; Discussion 

10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.          Break (Refreshments available) 

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.          Panel II - Lightning Talks: Project Showcase

Content-based project (Meejeong Song, Korean, Cornell University) (William Zhou, Chinese, Yale University)

Projects for Heritage Language Learners (Sybil Alexandrov, Spanish, Yale University) 

Multiliteracies-based project (Christine Sagnier, French, Princeton University)

Projects to foster (inter)cultural competence (Candace Skorupa, French, Yale University)  

Q & A, Discussion 

12:15 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.         Ways to Assess Project Outcomes

Mary Jo Lubrano (Associate Director and Assessment Specialist, Yale Center for Language Study)

12:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.          Lunch

2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.           *Hands-on Break-out Session

                                             Discussion + Develop/refine Projects   

3:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.            Break (Refreshments available)

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.           Final Presentations & Wrap-up Discussion: Projects in progress + Future project ideas and proposals  

* Note 1: There will be seven stations, one for each panelist and his/her respective topic. Participants can choose a station based on her/his interest.

Workshop Site

Reception/Keynote Presentation/Workshop: Yale Center for Language Study   Room 100

Keynote Speaker

Julio Rodriguez 

Director, National Foreign Language Resource Center (NFLRC), University of Hawaii at Monoa 

Panel Presenters

  •     Telecollaboration-based Project: Joowon Suh (Korean, Columbia University) 
  •     Place-based Project / Community-based Project:  Angela Lee-Smith (Korean, Yale University)
  •     Content-based Project: Meejeong Song (Korean, Cornell University) William Zhou (Chinese, Yale University) 
  •     Projects for Heritage Language Learners: Sybil Alexandrov (Spanish, Yale University)  
  •     Multiliteracies-based Project: Christine Sagnier (French, Princeton University) 
  •     Projects to Foster (Inter)cultural Competence: Candace Skorupa (French, Yale University)   
  •     Arts-based Project: Angelina Craig-Florez (Spanish, Columbia University)
  •     Assessment: Mary Jo Lubrano (Associate Director and Assessment Specialist, Yale Center for Language Study)

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