Presentation to the forum of “Teaching Trends in The Changing Word”

Project Based Learning for the Fourth Year Students of

Business English Language Department

Sopon Pearsanit

Department of Business English, Faculty of Business Administration

 

Background of the project

 

This methodology would change an old fashion of class teaching. The project based learning would find;

  1. The question that has no one corrected answer. This means many answers are right.
  2. The atmosphere that accepts mistake and change.
  3. Students make decision within a frame of thought.
  4. Students design how to resolve problems.
  5. There is evaluation as a continuous process.
  6. There is an output at the final step and it could be evaluated.

 

(Extracted from Intel@Teach to the Future (2003)

 

On the first term of the year 2010, the subject of English for Career1 was put to my timetable of lecturing to the fourth year students who learned in class for three years. They may feel frustrate learning in normally class or like to study in other styles such as outside class leaning which they can think about the title, resolve problems arising, making conclusion and doing report themselves. These may help study atmosphere of those students better.

 

Since the fourth year students of Business English Language department gain more knowledge and skills of English, they could speak, listen, read and write in English, at least enough to run an English project. Then at the beginning of the term, in the class I talked to those students about doing the project which they could learn outside class. They eagerly answered to the idea. At the moment, 15 minutes were allowed for them to briefly discuss among themselves. After discussion they presented that they would like to do the project of integration of English and morality. Their explanation was interesting. On nowadays English has an important role to the age of globalization but morality is also more important. Lacks of knowledge human beings would live in the way as primitive age but lacks of morality they would be in disaster.

 

I wrote this article after those students have already finished their presentation after seeing their enjoyable activities. They learned how to plan the project together with the whole class and also to implement the plan step by step. There were many problems during the time of implementation but with their whole hearts they could over came them. They learned to make a conclusion to see clearly merit and demerit of the project.

 

The importance of morality

 

They selected to do the project which integrates English learning and morality because they realized that English would be their career in the future but morality would be their steering control or compass of their lives. There are three ways of doing merit. Those are;

 

  1. Dana, sharing things to one another.
  2. Sila, keeping fundamental and normal principle of living.
  3. Bhavana, keeping mind into a peaceful stage.

 

A peaceful mind relates to education in all kinds of learning in also all levels from kindergarten to university. The project doers hope to gain those three benefits. They would like to get happiness from sharing things to others, from being real human being and also from peaceful mind.

 

Relation between the subject and the project

 

The project should lead them to meet with the purposes of the course outline. This is the main idea. The course outline is “Select content in accordance with majoring area of students, develop skills of English usage to be tool in prospective career, practice in English usage by simulating situation which students would meet in work” From the course outline led those students to the following preparation. The students may learn about the place (if they are guides), how to contact with people, to write project in English, to speak to public and also skill of doing presentation etc.

 

Preparation to do the project

 

  1. Style of the project

After discussing they defined a temple to give alms to Sangah and to grow trees in the area of the temple. They have to ask for 5 precepts (or 5 Sila) from the abbot or other monks. They have to enjoy with giving alms to others and also they have to try meditation.

  1. Selection of the temple

Some of them offered to do the project with Khao Hin Tern Sangah retreat where locates on the hill near Nongkae village. The retreat is under calm and quiet forest. There are 10 monks and novices living in the temple in this Buddhist Lent.

  1. Group separation was done in accordance with the tasks;

3.1  Writing the project. This group would draft the project in English and has to study through the project and write it out for submitting to the instructor.

3.2  Contacting and facilitating to the temple. This group would go to see the abbot of the temple and tell him about the project and ask for permission. The group should also learn about the ceremony for working out the procedure.

3.3  Fund finding. This group would arrange by collecting money from friends in class and also out class. The fund would be divided into two parts; 1. for buying alms to do Sanga Dana and 2. for buying trees to grow in the area of the temple.

3.4  Manager of ceremony. This group has to study about the process of the ceremony and prepare all steps such as two candles, a box of incense- stick, a lighter, two bunches of flower, alms for Sangah Dana and also Pali words for speaking in the ceremony.

3.5  Photographing. This group must plan for collecting pictures of the project. This is for doing presentation in class after the project has already been done.

3.6  Conclusion and evaluation. The group must clearly conclude the project to friends and also the instructor. An evaluation would be done in the style of interviewing or questionaires.

3.7  Do presentation. All groups would learn all steps of the project together and collect data from all groups to do the final presentation to class.

 

4. Problems and Solution

4.1 Technical terms. When the students went to the temple they had to use some Pali words to speak to monks and novices and also they had to write with technical terms such as pagoda, monastery, monk, novice, nun, hut, Uposatha etc. They tried to learn all those words from dictionaries or experienced persons.

4.2 Unfamiliarity with the ceremony. Students are not familiar with the Buddhist ceremony. The group of them went to the temple and asked questions to the abbot.

4.3 Project writing in English. They drafted the project, submit it to the instructor for consulting and improve the draft till all stakeholders satisfied.

 

Conclusion

  1. It could be seen from the project that there are many questions arising from implementing each plan and it can be seen many correct answers to each question. The students had to select the best choice for themselves.
  2. I could see the atmosphere that accepts mistake and change. One student offered to do the project in one temple the other student offered the other. Then they changed and made the best selection.
  3. Students make decision within a frame of thought. The frame of thought in this case is “the integration of English and morality” and they followed the frame.
  4. Students design how to resolve problems. Yes, it is true. The lecturer did only mentioned about the project based learning and they thought out what to do the project in the frame.
  5. There is evaluation as a continuous process. Every group has learned to evaluate the works under their charge and selected the best choice for their groups to run. The last evaluation has also been done after the presentation. Every student found that they enjoyed doing the project and also hoped their junior would have a good chance to do the same project like this.
  6. There is an output at the final step and it could be evaluated. The output of the project is the report that they made together and also they evaluate the project themselves and should be evaluated by lecturer or others.

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