As part of the celebrations for 25 years of Project, now in it’s third edition, and in preparation for the Project Competition to design the best class poster, Tom Hutchinson explains what a project is and shows us a few examples.
Project work is not a new methodology. Its benefits have been widely recognized for many years in the teaching of subjects like Science, Geography, and History. Some teachers have also been doing project work in their language lessons for a long time, but for others it is a new way of working.
In the first of a series of five blog posts, I aim to provide a simple introduction to project work. In the following posts, I shall then go on to explain what benefits project work brings in relation to motivation, relevance, and educational values. I shall also deal with the main worries that teachers have about using project work in their classrooms. So to get started:
What is a project?
The best way to answer this question is to show some examples of projects (click on the images to see full size versions).
Projects allow students to use their imagination and the information they contain does not always have to be factual. In the above example of a project which required students to introduce themselves and their favourite things, the students pretend they are a horse.
You can do projects on almost any topic. Factual or fantastic, they help to develop the full range of learners’ capabilities.
Projects are often done in poster format, but students can also experiment with the form, like in the project above. You will probably also note that project work can produce errors! Project work encourages a focus on fluency – some errors of accuracy are bound to occur.