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«Скриня педагогічних ідей» Іноземні мови




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06 січня 2012 року

Кафедра методики викладання філологічних дисциплін

Куриш С.М. – завідувач кафедри МВФД

«Скриня педагогічних ідей»

Іноземні мови

DEVELOPING STUDENTS’ ABILITIES TO APPLY KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS ACQUIRED AT THE LESSONS OF ENGLISH IN NEW SITUATIONS INVOLVING PROBLEM-SOLVING ACTIVITIES


DEVELOPING STUDENTS’ ABILITIES

TO APPLY KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS

ACQUIRED AT THE LESSONS OF ENGLISH

IN NEW SITUATIONS

INVOLVING PROBLEM-SOLVING ACTIVITIES

(з досвіду роботи вчителя англійської мови

Чернівецької гімназії №4 Мелещук С.)


One of the Principles to Guide the Teaching/Learning Process states that learners learn a language best when they are provided with opportunities to participate in communicative use of the target language in a wide range of activities.

In my work as a teacher of English I have constantly sought and tried to provide something interesting, something extra, to traditional teaching activities. This in turn seems to produce an improvement in the students’ willingness and intention to learn.

In this report I am going to focus on one of many recent developments in foreign language teaching that I have found to be efficient and have incorporated into my work this school year. It’s a ^ Portfolio-Based Project Work for middle school classes.

In general project work aims to bridge the gap between “learning for school” and “learning for life.” Education provides relevant knowledge and appropriate skills for the students and enables them to participate as responsible members of a modern democratic society.

In other words project work:

  • aims at relevant knowledge and skills that can be applied in everyday life;

  • tries to build on and make use of individual skills and competences of the student;

  • stimulates motivation of both students and teacher;

  • contributes to a continuous development of the individual.

A portfolio-based project work focuses on the interests and needs of the students and helps students to demonstrate that they can connect the knowledge they have learned to practical life lessons. One of the aspects of project work is the development of the portfolio. There may be two types of portfolios: a class portfolio and a personal portfolio.

The class portfolio is an organized collection of information, which makes your class plan related to certain issues that you and your class have decided to study. The class portfolio will contain such things as written statements, charts, graphs, photographs, and original art work.

These materials will portray

  • what you have learned about the problem you have selected;

  • what you have learned about alternative solutions to the problem;

  • what policy you have selected to deal with the problem;

  • the plan action you have developed to use in attempting to get your ideas implemented.

The personal portfolio is a document in which those who are learning a foreign language can record their language learning and cultural experiences.

The personal language portfolio is

  • a means of celebrating language learning experiences;

  • an open-ended record of a student’s achievements in a foreign language;

  • a document which can be kept by the learner or by the teacher;

  • a valuable source of information to aid transfer to the next class or school.

The sections in the portfolio may include different sections, such as:

1) Writing (Writing section includes sentence completion activities, compositions, essays, self-made greeting cards, sample letters and others).

2) Reading (Reading section monitors students’ comprehension skills).

3) Speaking (Speaking section records students’ skills in speaking, but not interacting. This includes, for example, audio recording of a student giving a talk, or reciting a poem, or singing a song at home or in the classroom).

4) Talking to someone (^ Talking to someone section records spoken interaction, i.e. listening and speaking with someone else).

5) Self-assessment sheets (The self-assessment sheets allow students to assess their language competence. They can be used a t any time in order to reflect on their achievements and to encourage students to reflect on their progress in different skills).

A student, assisted if necessary by the teacher, fills in the personal portfolio individually. As the portfolio is an on-going record of achievements, students can add to it whenever it is convenient. This may be at intervals throughout the school year or all in one go at the end of the term or year. It is meant to be used flexibly to suit the needs of the learners.

One of the chief advantages of the activities presented in the personal portfolios is that they deal with themes that matter to students. These themes can therefore be readily expanded into more extensive activities.

This school term I have started working on the project “My Personal English Language Portfolio” with the students of the fifth grade. I have inserted the outline of the English Language learning programme of our school. This includes topics, grammar structures, activities that are tied closely to the material presented in the course books, the emphasis being put on using the material in unexpected ways.

For example, written work includes sentence completion activities that can be turned into some of the most playful of grammar exercises. Students enjoy imagining unusual and amusing situations that not only fulfill the objective of teaching grammar but also provide entertainment. Such tasks as “The most difficult thing I’ve never done was” or “I like people who” help students use particular structures without feeling they are “learning grammar”.

The writing section also contains student-created products, such as self-made greeting postcards, pictures or self-composed poems. Students can add homework items to their portfolio when they like.

Some activities may be done in the classroom when the teacher may act as a “walking dictionary” but otherwise allows the students to proceed at their own pace.

Once again I would like to stress that keeping a personal language portfolio may be highly motivating because of its relationship to real interests of the students. Since there is no one “correct” answer, it is an excellent way to stimulate students to use their knowledge and challenge them to think. This in turn makes them want to speak as well when they present their portfolio to their classmates.

Thus, doing a portfolio has at least five advantages. First, it organizes a mass of complicated material into an orderly pattern. Second, the student can use it to present a certain topic or problem in class. Third, the student can use it as a reference to prepare for a test. Fourth, it develops critical thinking and gives students time for individual thought and discovery. Fifth, the students can reach out for the limits of the possible themselves.

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