Why and What is Project Based Language Learning?

Why did I come to like Project Based Language Learning (PBLL)?

After getting frustrated with “traditional” textbooks, language courses, and approaches to learning and teaching languages, I began to search for better learning and teaching approaches and methods.

Not just skills and strategies, very important parts of language learning, but I was searching for a way of learning that allowed me to choose what I wanted to learn, how I wanted to learn, how I wanted to show what I learned, accounted for my knowledge, skills, and abilities, considered the interconnections of learning, and left me with a sense of accomplishment. A sense of accomplishment because I did something with what I wanted to learn.

I also wanted a method that considered the process of learning. That journey led me to discover Project Based Language Learning.

What is PBLL?

To put it simply:

PBLL is a process of real world activities chosen by the participants and coach/facilitator, scaffolded to aid language acquisition by the coach, in order to construct a product that is communicated with the world. Projects are engaging and motivating, challenging and fun, and effective and rewarding.

Participants develop language fluency, interdisciplinary knowledge, and 21st century skills (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication)

In order to complete the product:

  • Learners are the leaders in choosing the product, process, and tasks.
  • Language is learned just in time to complete the project tasks.
  • Learning is interdisciplinary: learn more than just language.
  • Several mini-projects/stages are completed along the way.
  • Consistent process of investigation, collaboration, critique, assessment, and revision.

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