Project Based Learning is a great teaching method that promotes students to utilize 21st century skills. This method can and should be used with all students. ELL students can benefit from this practice because they are able to work with their peers to complete the task at hand. In most PBL activities, students create a project that connects to a real life situation. For example, students in upper elementary grades should start to learn and understand their duty and right to vote. Students can work on a project to master such objectives so they understand their duty as a citizen of the United States. One PBL project that can promote 21st century skills and allows students to master this objective is having them to create a video about voting.
There are many reasons why this teaching method would benefit our ELL students. First, this gives them the opportunity to practice and hear the English language as they are learning it. Also, they are able to produce and create a project that is meaningful to them. For example, ELL students may create a video that showcases a candidate’s position on immigration and the DREAM Act. This will promote our ELL students to think at higher levels while researching and investigating for information needed to complete the video. Resources should be given to students so they may use it while investigating for information. Of course, adaptations and modifications may be needed to support our ELL’s research process. For example, teachers can create and give students an outline, brainstorming graphic organizers, dictionary, step-by-step action plan, etc. In most cases, these types of scaffolds should be given to all students because each can only help and support the learning process. After students are done with their research and planning, they should be given ample time to create their product. Students work together to edit and complete the final product. Communicating with one another and the teacher throughout the process. This provides our ELL’s with more opportunities to practice the language. Once a project is completed, students are given the opportunity to share their learning process and product in front of an audience. Teachers are encouraged to invite special guest to watch student presentations. Special guest can be an expert in the field, administration, parents, guardians, etc. An audience makes the presentations extra special because students practice what they want to share when presenting their final projects.
I think every teacher should try this teaching method to see if it works for him or her. It does take time to plan and prepare a successful PBL activity, but it will be rewarding for both the teacher and students. For more tips on implementing PBL in your classroom, read this article: Tips for Implementing Project-Based Learning.