Project-based Learning in Foreign Language Teaching(Roundtable)
Sara Dallavalle (University of Chicago)
In foreign language classes, project-based learning (PBL) activities are long-term, multi-step, multi-modal tasks that allow students to collaborate and create tangible cultural products. These projects encourage students’ ownership, accountability, motivation, and critical and creative thinking (Bourns, Krueger and Mills, 2020). Students involved in PBL also hone collaboration skills that are highly valued in various work environments (Liebech-Lien and Sjølie, 2021). Some of the many projects students can undertake are theater performances, short movies, podcasting, film dubbing, art exhibits, and concerts. While the benefits of PBL for language learning are evident, its implementation is not without challenges. Instructors must structure these projects in advance by setting clear goals, creating guidelines and rubrics, and anticipating possible problems. They must also align the goals of their PBL activities with the already established goals of their language curricula, which are often not up to individual instructors but set by departments. Finally, as often noted, collaboration among students and instructors is critical to the success of PBL activities (Di Blasio and Ardeni, 2022).