Supporting Theory for PBL in ELL

The theory I poured through this week has further amplified my desire to promote authentic learning situation for my English language learners. Combining this with technology is an area I’m still having a bit of trouble. I feel that the primary reason for this lies in the title of the course I teach: Classroom English. The goal for this course is to provide my students with the necessary language for them to conduct a beginner level, elementary school EFL class. In my class, I am not tasked to teach methodology, pedagogy or theory. Simply language and communicative devices for instruction. Of course, this is nearly impossible to separate. Therefore, at every opportunity, I attempt to allow my students to construct knowledge through role-play, demonstration, micro-projects and micro-lessons. I also incorporate computer based materials and expect a level of computer based output within the student presentations.

This semester has been the most successful for allowing the students the most autonomy and self-regulated learning opportunities. I have shifted from my normal position at the front of the classroom, to a more marginal observer/facilitator. This has allowed me to put shift an important portion of assessment into the hands of the students in an attempt to foster critical thinking skills through a structured evaluative process.  So far the experience (experiment) has been fruitful and though all the kinks have yet to be worked out, I will continue to build on the success and learn from the missteps in this transitional period.