Project-Based Learning

Integrating Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Through Project-Based Learning

By Adriana Merino, Paloma Moscardó-Vallés and Sylvia Zetterstrand

Project-Based Instruction has been found to lead to more effective learning, to the furthering of both translingual and transcultural competence. The core objective of project-based learning (PBL) is to put theory into practice and gain new skills throughout the process. From prioritizing tasks to managing sources and summarizing concepts, the students develop skills for life. In a recent presentation at The Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (NECTFL, February 2018), Professors Zetterstrand, Moscardó-Vallés and Merino discussed how collaborative, multi-literacy projects can be used effectively to enhance language acquisition at the novice, intermediate, advanced and/or superior levels.

The projects they implement in their classes all have a strong civic-engagement and social justice component, which seek to foster diversity, inclusion, and global citizenship. Such projects integrate digital media skills with several modes of communication (such as interpretive reading, presentational speaking and presentational writing). In particular, Professors Zetterstrand, Moscardó-Valles and Merino discussed the knowledge, skills, and values required for civic education and suggested how these principles can be applied to second language instruction, particularly by considering: (1) content selection, (2) instructor-student roles, (3) the instructor as motivator, (4) classroom and outside of classroom activities, and (5) continuous and dynamic assessment. The session also explored various instruments for measuring achievement and learner performance in said projects, including the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines, the National Standards for 21st Century Language Learning, as well as other dynamic and process-oriented assessment techniques.

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