Part 1: Project-Based Learning, Session 1

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Session 1, RealPlayer
[RealPlayer is available for free for Windows and Mac from Real.]

Session 1 – November 18, 2005


Leslie Opp-Beckman, University of Oregon
Linguistics Department, American English Institute
Email: or use the Contact web page.

About the Speaker

Leslie Opp-Beckman is a Senior Instructor in the MA Language Teaching Specialization program for the Linguistics Department at the University of Oregon. She also develops online training, teaches courses, and acts as Technology Coordinator for the American English Institute.


This is the first session in 2005-06 in the10-part professional development series for English as a Foreign Language (EFL) educators in Thailand. University of Oregon is partnering with the US Embassy in Bangkok, the Royal Thai Distance Learning Foundation, the Ministry of Education, colleagues at Chulalongkorn University, and at ThaiTESOL on this innovative and exciting project.

Discussion Questions

  1. What steps can I take to use Project-Based Learning (PBL) in my own classes?
  2. How long will it take my students to do a project?
  3. What will the finished project look like?
  4. How can I assess PBL activities?

Online Resources

Following are some recommended pedagogical and practical resources for this topic.

  1. Implementing Project-Based Instruction, from NW Regional Education Lab (NWREL).
    Abstract: There is no one correct way to implement a project, but this site offers some things to consider when designing effective projects. You can acquire this set of articles at no cost from NWREL (text-only and PDF formats), or as a PDF from this UO-Thai site.

  2. Project Based Learning and Checklists
    An overview of PBL. Plus, age-appropriate, customizable project checklists for written reports, multimedia projects, oral presentations, and science projects. The use of these checklists keeps students on track and allows them to take responsibility for their own learning through peer- and self-evaluation.

Post-Lecture Classroom Applications

The following is a suggested follow up activity (or “homework”).

We will begin this process during the videoconference session. You can complete it afterwards. Work with a colleague in your school or region if possible.

Bring the following information to our next session, so that we can use it to move on to the next steps.

Step 1

Identify the class that you will use in your work with PBL as part of this course. Provide as many details as possible (number and age of students, hours per week that you meet, language level, student interests, themes and activities already in your curriculum).

Step 2

Choose one of the following three project types to try in your class(es). You can go through the project process at the same time as we go through this series, or you can wait and do it afterwards. Your students can work individually, in pairs, or in groups.

  • Reports: e.g. in notebook or folder format.
  • Displays: e.g. in bulletin board, poster, or photographic format.
  • Dramatization (performance): e.g. in the form of a skit, play, or interpretive music.

How much time is available for project work? Is it something you can do during class, or will it be an after-school project of some kind?

Step 3

What topic(s) or theme(s) from your curriculum will you use as a focus area?

List the resources that your students might need in order to complete the projects. Which resources do you already have? Which resources do you need?