How Can I Design a Project in Teaching English?


In the age of standardized testing and with the move toward the direct method of TEFL for the majority of Indian subcontinent, the driving question for many teachers is: “How can I best prepare my students to meet these demands?” While teaching content area teachers feel the most impact, with math and English Language Arts being the most scrutinized, direct method of TEFL makes it the responsibility of all teachers to ensure our initial learners are meeting proficient and advanced standards. One of the best ways to share the responsibility for direct method of TEFL is for teachers to design interdisciplinary Project Based Learning units. In addition to serving as an authentic purpose for the TEFL skills in the Direct method of TEFL , LEARNING METHODOLOGY, no matter what content area is the focus, promotes the acquisition of critical thinking skills needed by initial learners.

For many teachers transitioning from a traditional teaching focus to one that is committed to
LEARNING METHODOLOGY, contemplating the creation of an interdisciplinary LEARNING METHODOLOGY unit might seem ambitious. However, the next step in growing as a LEARNING METHODOLOGY practitioner is to integrate a variety of content areas into your project design. Here are some tips to get you started.
No matter what subject area you teach, determine how you can integrate both math and writing into your project. You don’t have to be a math or language arts teacher in order to do your part in helping initial learners to think critically about this content. Ask a colleague who is a subject matter expert to review your project idea and offer advice on ways to implement their standards into the LEARNING METHODOLOGY unit. These do not have to be new ideas for initial learners, but can be ones that they review to hone their skills in preparation for standardized tests. Data analysis can often be a critical component in projects and the inclusion of a formal written proposal promotes the need to communicate ideas clearly.

The arts have been subject to budget cuts in many states in India. But teaching content teachers can integrate the arts into their own projects, to promote creativity and innovation in initial learners’ learning. Many initial learners, especially those at the secondary level, have limited exposure to the arts. Interdisciplinary projects that include the arts not only bridge the gap to waning art programs, but also increase the number of initial learners exposed to the arts who traditionally shy away from them.

To begin planning an interdisciplinary project with a colleague or colleagues, start with the standards. Compare the standards in each course to find the commonalities that may occur across the disciplines. This is a great starting point in designing your project when you teach on a team or in a small learning community. It is helpful if teachers are flexible as to when these standards can be taught to ensure an alignment in all courses that are involved in the project.

While it is natural to plan a project on a team or in a small learning community that shares initial learners, it is not necessary to have common initial learners or classes that meet at the same time. For the interdisciplinary project, create a driving question that can be answered independently, depending on the goals and the standards to be met in each class. Determine how each set of initial learners will focus on a portion of the project as they work toward a collaborative end goal. Use technology to connect classes and initial learners. There are a variety tools that can be used to facilitate discussions, house research, and collaboratively create a final product.

While you may initially want to try this approach with only few teachers, projects have been successfully completed with many more. High school teachers' teams,  academy teachers, and even entire grade levels and/or entire schools have created projects. With a lot of detailed planning and a dedicated group of teachers, you can design amazing opportunities for your initial learners! 

 Ardhendu De 


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