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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