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Students’ attitude towards the project works in enhancing autonomous learning in english speaking II at vien dong college

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STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP

I certify that this thesis which entitled “Students’ Attitude towards the Project
Works in Enhancing Autonomous Learning in English Speaking II at Vien Dong
College” is my work.
Except where reference is made in the text of the thesis, this paper does not
contain material published elsewhere or extracted on whole or in part from a thesis by
which I have qualified for or been awarded another degree or diploma.
No other person’s work has been used without acknowledgement in the main
text of the thesis.
The thesis has not been submitted for any degree in any other tertiary
institution.

Ho Chi Minh, May 2017

TRUONG THI THANH CANH


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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to express my appreciation and deep thank to all who have
supported and stood by me during the time I tried to finish my thesis.
Firstly, I would like to sing out my supervisor, Dr. Nguyen Thuy Nga, with my
greatest gratitude for her valuable guidance, advice, and encouragement. She has
kindly guided me to get over the most problematic period when I was stuck in finding
solutions for my thesis. Undoubtedly, without her support, this thesis is far from being
completed. Therefore, I need to emphasize that words fail me in expressing my
indebtedness to her.
Next, I would like to send my deep thank to all the lecturers, who have laid my
background knowledge at the Master program in Ho Chi Minh city Open University,
Vietnam. This background helps me to have intensive knowledge in the scientific
arena as well as improve my personal skills to conduct research papers.
Then, my particular gratefulness is sent to all of my students who have
participated in the PBL implementation. They were eager to join and fill in
questionnaire together with answering the interview questions.
Furthermore, my thanks go to my classmates in TESOL 08, who have been
with me as family members to share happiness and difficulties.
Last but not least, my words of appreciation are sent to my family members as
well as my beloved husband for their endless love and care.


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ABSTRACT

This study which entitles “Students’ Attitudes towards the Project Works in
Enhancing Autonomous Learning in English Speaking II at Vien Dong College” was
conducted with the following objectives: (1) to investigate students’ attitudes towards
the use of project works to enhance their autonomous learning in an English speaking
class; (2) to find out to what extent students believe that using project works can
promote their autonomous learning; and (3) to figure out difficulties that learners have
during the time they conduct their two projects, namely, Poster designing and Video
making project. The study population was 81 first-year students who took the course
English speaking II. An open-ended questionnaire, semi-structured interview and class
observation were employed as research instruments for the quantitative and qualitative
data collection. Descriptive statistics such as mean score (M) and percentages were
used to analyze and explain the data.


The result firstly shows that the students have positive attitudes towards the use
of project works in English class that may have enhanced their autonomous learning.
Then, it reveals students’ preference in having more project works to do in their
English classes. Nonetheless, using project works’ evaluation as one of criteria for
course assessment is a controversial issue among these students. In addition, students’
interest in utilizing information technology devices is remarked as one of the
significant findings in this study. Furthermore, some difficulties when conducting
projects are found, namely, time constraints, teamwork conflicts, cultural differences
and technology problems. In short, because of students’ positive attitudes toward
Poster designing and Video making project in enhancing their autonomous learning, it
is suggested that institutions should consider to integrate these two projects in their
second language training curriculum. In addition, further researches on other types of
project works should be taken to complete the picture on using project works as
instances of Project-based Learning to enhance students’ autonomous learning.


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TABLE OF CONTENTS
STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP...............................................................................i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ........................................................................................... ii
ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................. iii
LIST OF FIGURES .................................................................................................... vii
LIST OF DIAGRAMS .............................................................................................. viii
LIST OF TABLES ........................................................................................................ix
ABBREVIATIONS ........................................................................................................x
Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION......................................................................................1
1.1Background of the study .........................................................................................1
1.2 Statement of problem .............................................................................................3
1.3 Research purposes ..................................................................................................4
1.4 Research questions .................................................................................................4
1.5 Significance of the study ........................................................................................5
1.6 Thesis organization ................................................................................................6
Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW .........................................................................7
2.1 Project-based Learning ..........................................................................................7
2.1.1 Project-based Learning theory .........................................................................7
2.1.2 Definition of Project work .............................................................................14
2.2 Autonomous learning..........................................................................................24
2.2.1 Definition of autonomous learning...............................................................24
2.3 Incorporating autonomous learning in the language classroom through Project
works ..........................................................................................................................26
2.4 Learner attitude and their role in language learning ............................................29
2.4.1Definition of learner attitude ..........................................................................29
2.4.2 The importance of attitude in language learning ...........................................30
2.5 Studies related to the students’ attitudes towards Project-based Learning
implementation to promote students’ autonomous learning ......................................30
2.5.1 Studies related to the PBL implementation to enhance autonomous learning
................................................................................................................................ 31
2.5.2 Studies related to the students’ attitudes towards PBL implementation to
enhance autonomous learning.................................................................................34
2.5.3 The summary information for studies included in the literature review .......36


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2.5.4 Research gap ..................................................................................................38
2.6 Conceptual framework .........................................................................................39
2.7 Summary of Chapter 2 .........................................................................................40
Chapter 3:

METHODOLOGY ..............................................................................42

3.1 Research setting ...................................................................................................42
3.2 Participants ...........................................................................................................43
3.3 Research design ....................................................................................................43
3.4 Research procedure ..............................................................................................44
3.4.1 English speaking II course .............................................................................44
3.4.2 Project work implementation .........................................................................44
3.5 Data collection instruments ..................................................................................49
3.5.1 Attitude questionnaire ....................................................................................49
3.5.2 Interview ........................................................................................................54
3.5.3 Observation ....................................................................................................55
3.6 Data collection procedure ....................................................................................58
3.6.1 Administering the questionnaire, interview and class observation ...............58
3.7 Data analysis ........................................................................................................59
3.7.1 Mean (M) .......................................................................................................60
3.7.2 Percentages ....................................................................................................60
3.7.3 Data analysis of questionnaire .......................................................................60
3.7.4 Data analysis of interview .............................................................................61
3.7.5 Data analysis of classroom observation .........................................................61
3.8 Summary of Chapter 3 .........................................................................................61
Chapter 4: DATA ANALYSIS AND FINDING DISCUSSION .............................62
4.1 The demographic information of participants ......................................................62
4.2 Response rate .......................................................................................................63
4.3 Analytical results ..................................................................................................63
4.3.1 Research question 1 .......................................................................................63
4.3.2 Research question 2 .....................................................................................72
4. 3.3 Research question 3 .....................................................................................83
4.4 Discussion of the findings ....................................................................................85
4.4.1 Students’ attitudes towards the Project work implementation in English
Speaking II course to enhance their autonomous learning .....................................85


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4.4.2 Students' reticence in using Project work's evaluation as one of criteria of
course assessment...................................................................................................86
4.4.3 Students’ attitudes towards the effect of Project works on enhancing their
autonomous learning. ..............................................................................................87
4.4.5 Students’ difficulties while doing Project works ..............................................89
4.5 Summary of Chapter 4 .........................................................................................90
Chapter 5: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ................................ 91
5.1. Conclusion...........................................................................................................91
5.2 Contributions of the study ....................................................................................92
5.3 Limitations ...........................................................................................................93
5.4 Recommendations ................................................................................................ 93
5.4.1 Recommendations to students .......................................................................94
5.4.2 Recommendations to English teachers ..........................................................94
5.4.3 Recommendations to the college ...................................................................95
5.5 Suggestions for further research ..........................................................................96
REFERENCES ............................................................................................................98
APPENDIX 1 (A) .......................................................................................................109
APPENDIX 1 (B) .......................................................................................................113
APPENDIX 3..............................................................................................................119
APPENDIX 4..............................................................................................................121
APPENDIX 5..............................................................................................................123
APPENDIX 6............................................................................................................124
APPENDIX 7..............................................................................................................126
APPENDIX 8..............................................................................................................129
APPENDIX 10............................................................................................................134


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LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 2.1 Autonomous learning………………………………………………….27
Figure 2.2 Conceptual framework ………………………………………………..40
Figure 4.1 Students’ responses on the effect of PW on their creativity
enhancement…………………………………………………………...64
Figure 4.2 Students’ attitude towards English lesson with PW…………………..67
Figure 4.3 Results of student’ attitude towards the use of PW in English
speaking class from the observation ………………………………….80
Figure 4.4 Students’ difficulties with PW ……………………………………….83


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LIST OF DIAGRAMS
Diagram 2.1 Gold Standard PBL……………………………………………….9
Diagram 3.1 Study research instruments ………………………………………49


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LIST OF TABLES
Table 2.1 Subdivision of projects according to the outcome ………………………19
Table 2.2 Developing a Project in Language classroom …………………………...20
Table 2.3 Summary of previous studies in the PBL implementation on
enhancing students’ autonomous learning……………………………....32
Table 3.1 Evaluation scale for projects…………………………………………… 38
Table 3.2 Steps in doing Poster project ……………………………………………47
Table 3.3 Development of Video making project …………………………………48
Table 3.4 Summary of questionnaire ……………………………………………...52
Table 3.5 Reliability coefficient of the questionnaire …………………………….57
Table 3.6 Schedule of classroom observation …………………………………….48
Table 3.8 Summary of the content of the observation checklist ………………….60
Table 3.9 Evaluation criteria of the questionnaire ………………………………..51
Table 4.1 Summary of the demographic information of the participants …………62
Table 4.2 Students’ motivation in English speaking class with PW ………………66
Table 4.3 Students’ attitude towards PE and their learning skill…………………..68
Table 4.4 Students’ opinion on using PW as a part of English speaking course ….69
Table 4.5 Students’ attitude s towards the use of PW in English speaking class ….71
Table 4.6 Students’ attitudes towards learning responsibility enhanced by PW…...73
Table 4.7 Students’ attitudes towards practical learning enhanced by PW………...74
Table 4.8 Students’ attitudes on their ability in self-discovering new information..75
Table 4.9 Students; attitudes on self-evaluation ability……………………………76
Table 4.10 Students’ attitude on their dependence on teachers……………………77
Table 4.11 Questionnaire items on teamwork ……………………………………..78
Table 4.12 Students’ attitude towards autonomous learning………………………82


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ABBREVIATIONS

IT

Information technology

ICT

Information and Communications
Technology

PBL

Project-based Learning

PW

Project work

ESL

English as Second Language


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Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION
This study aims at investigating students’ attitudes towards the use of project
works as instances of Project-based Learning in enhancing their autonomous
learning in English speaking class. In this chapter, the author presents relevant
background information, statement of problems, research purposes, research
questions and significance of this study. The chapter concludes by the overview for
five chapters of the present study.
1.1.

Background of the study
The requirements of 21st century have placed a renewed emphasis on

enhancing students’ autonomous learning experience. They need to learn how to
learn and think autonomously. Holec (1981, cited in Skai & Takagi, 2009) claims
that students need to have the ability to take charge of their learning. Thus, it is
believed that one of the key factors for students to be successful in this challenging
society is their learning autonomy. They need to be active rather than passive and
figure out the answers rather than be told them. However, fostering students’
autonomous learning is not an easy issue. In fact, it is challenging to encourage
students to be autonomous learners, especially in the countries which were strongly
affected by Confucian heritage like Vietnam. Students from these countries are
generally viewed as typically passive, unwilling to ask questions or speak up in
class and often based on memorizing rather than understanding knowledge
delivered by teachers (Nguyen et al. 2005).
For centuries, Vietnamese students have been educated with the passive
learning style along with the teacher-centered belief (Nguyen, 2014). Furthermore,
they tend to believe that sitting in classes will give them the information they need
to continue in “spoon-feeding” culture, which “in the long run, teaches nothing but
the shape of the spoon” (Foster, 1951, as cited in Halonen, 2002, p.56). This
phenomenon has been reported by many researchers. Rao (2001), for instance,


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claims that most of students are less autonomous, and they dislike “ambiguity”,
“uncertainty” or “fuzziness”. Being consistent with Rao (2001), Bigg (2003) points
out one more weakness of Vietnamese students is the lack of critical thinking skill.
These problematic issues are restated in the conclusion made by Stephen et al.
(2006). To identify problems of teaching and learning at selected Vietnamese
universities, they conducted an observation in one year, then, gave a summary of
main findings as follow:
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Ineffective teaching methods, which have high a dependence on lecturers and
little use of active learning techniques, were used.

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There was a lack of emphasis on conceptual learning or higher order learning

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Students’ learning is passive

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Students spend too much time in classes each day (and there was) no deep
learning comprehension.
(Stephen et al., 2006, p.6)
To sum up, most of the scholars share the same viewpoint that Vietnamese

students are less autonomous, lack of critical thinking skill (Rao, 2001; Biggs,
2003), and dependent as passive learners (Stephen, et al., 2006, p.6). Undoubtedly,
these weaknesses will cause negative impacts on their learning process, especially
in foreign language learning.
Being aware of this problematic situation, educators are scrambling to
innovate their teaching and learning approaches to better meet the needs of students
in improving their autonomous learning. The demanding task for teachers is
creating student-centered learning environment where students can experience the
learning process by themselves. They themselves decide to take their learning
responsibility autonomously and become engaging builders of a new knowledge
and active as lifelong learners. A teaching method, namely Project-based Learning
(PBL), which has gained the international popularity in recent years, is highly
suggested as an appropriate method of teaching (Tricia, 2000) that can help to solve


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the mentioned problem. PBL is a teaching methodology that uses student-centered
projects to facilitate student autonomous learning (Mergendoller, 2006), and is
touted as superior to traditional teaching methods in improving problem solving and
thinking skills, and engaging students in their learning (Berends et al., 2003).
Through completing projects, learners are inspired to learn autonomously. In
addition, they are actively engaged with real world problems and challenges in
order to acquire deeper understand (Felipe et. al, 2016). Consequently, PBL is
worth investigating as it motivates students’ learning autonomy (William & Burden,
1997, as cited in Nada, 2015).
1.2 Statement of problem
In Vietnam, at the tertiary level, there are some researchers, who conducted
studies on students’ learning style. Many of them agree that Vietnamese students
are generally passive. Tran (2013), in her study conducted at VNU University of
Languages and International Studies, claims that Vietnamese students are generally
viewed as typically obedient, shy and unwilling to question their teachers in class.
This issue is restated in another study: “Some Utilization of Project-based Learning
for Vietnamese University Students of English in the Intercultural Communication
Course” by Ngo (2014). He says that Vietnamese students learning style “is likely
to be passive”. They are “deep-rooted in repeating and repeating after their
teachers”. That passive learning style is popular in the educating system, and many
students still consider teachers as the main source of knowledge and rarely speak up
in class Ngo (2014).
At Vien Dong College, where the author is working, students are no
exception. With her two year teaching experience at this College, she comes to a
conclusion that the lack of autonomy in learning has been a serious problem among
students, especially with those who major in Foreign Languages Department. The
similar viewpoint is shared by her colleagues. All five lecturers who participated in
an informal conversation via email, relating to Vien Dong students’ autonomous


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learning agreed that the students are passive. One of them explained that “students
are afraid of being asked or are unwilling to ask about the lessons”.
There have been some certain reasons for the mentioned issue. First and
foremost, students are characterized with Asian culture as to be passive. They seem
to be satisfied with provided knowledge provided by lecturers and make no
connections with real life. In addition, they are reluctant to communicate in English,
even with their peers or their lecturers. Secondly, students are not autonomous in
learning and investigating information. Thus, they hesitate to use available services
at college to improve their English skills. Last but not least, the reason may come
from unsuitable teaching methods, which have not yet inspired students’ curiosity.
With the practical teaching experience and her ambition to improve the recent
teaching and learning situation at her workplace, the author would apply Projectbased Learning as a new method to motivate students to study English and
encourage their autonomous lifelong learning.
1.3 Research purposes
The aim of this study is to investigate students’ attitude towards the use of
project works as instance of PBL teaching method in enhancing their autonomous
learning in English speaking class. Then, the study purpose expands to focus on
students’ belief in the effectiveness of project works in enhancing their autonomous
learning. The last sub-question covers with the idea to figure out the learning
difficulties that students have during the time of doing their learning projects as
instance of PBL method.
To achieve these above goals, the author focuses on finding answers for the
following research questions.
1.4 Research questions
In priority, this study was conducted to figure out answers for the three
research questions:


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(1)

What are the students’ attitudes towards project work implementation

in the English Speaking II course?
(2)

To what extent do students believe that the employment of project

works enhances autonomous learning?
(3)

What are students’ difficulties when doing project works?

1.5 Significance of the study
The initial purpose of the current study is to bring up a significant contribution
to Vien Dong college, particularly, to its lecturers and students as well. Then, the
result from this study is expected to contribute to the limited Vietnamese literature
on using PBL in enhancing autonomous learning for ESL students by investigating
learners’ attitudes to this new method.
Firstly, this PBL implementation can have some certain contributions to the
College development. Specifically, it is stated in Vien Dong’s mission that the
College has geared up to train students with practical orientation with “learning by
doing” training philosophy. The reasons which underscore this philosophy connects
to the idea that students are able to apply theoretical knowledge into real situations.
In this case, for ESL students, the expected learning outcome is they need to know
how to communicate with foreigners in real life communication and pass some
international English proficiency tests. Thus, this study pioneers in applying PBL as
a teaching method that can meet the demand of the college.
Secondly, for the lecturers, they can take advantages of the study’ result. It
provides them with a reference for designing teaching activities to maximize
students’ positive attitudes and reduce negative ones in classroom. To some extent,
students would be more enthusiastic in joining lessons, which encourages teachers’
teaching commitment.
Lastly, for the students, who directly participate in the projects, they couls
benefit from this new method of learning. Obviously, they have opportunities to


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manage their study, be self-regulated, collaborate with teammates to solve problems
and actively involve in learning process. All of these things build up their learning
motivation and critical thinking skills that are really helpful for their future.
In short, with the above potential mentioned benefit for Project-based
Learning literature, teachers and students, Project-based Learning should be applied
as a teaching and learning method to promote students’ autonomous learning,
especially in English speaking classes.
1.6. Thesis organization
The study consists of five chapters:
Chapter 1 mentions to the introduction that links to the issues of using
Project-based Learning teaching method in promote autonomous learning for
Vietnamese ESL students, the statement of purpose, research questions, the study
significance and the overview of the study.
Chapter 2 elaborates on the literature that the author bases on to conduct this
study. This part goes with the theoretical concepts of autonomous learning, Projectbased Learning theory, the study framework and previous studies that were carried
out with similar research aims.
Chapter 3 demonstrates the research methodology employed to conduct this
research paper. The presented parts include research site, participants, research
instruments, and data collection procedure.
Chapter 4 analyses, interprets and gives discussion on the data collected from
the Project-based Learning teaching method via PW implementation.
Chapter 5 concludes the core points of the study and gives implication for the
future research papers that aim to investigate the similar issue as this paper.


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Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW

This chapter introduces the relevant literature to the present study. It firstly
starts with definitions of project works, project types, and theory of Project-based
Learning, its benefits as well as challenging, and implementing steps. Then, in the
next section, the author synthesizes several themes emergent in the literature,
including autonomous learning. What follows is a short part for defining attitude
and its important role in guiding learners’ behavior towards PBL implementation.
The chapter concludes by summarizing some studies conducted by different
researchers on the role of PBL in English teaching area and students’ attitudes
towards the use of project work in learning.
2.1. Project-based Learning
2.1.1 Project-based Learning theory
According to the Buck Institute for Education (BIE, 2015), a terrific resource
for educators who desire to have effective means of conducting researches on PBL,
this method had its roots in the early 1900s. In recent years, this theory seems to be
enjoying increased attention and is considered as a promising method that can
attract students to learning process (Ellison & Freedberg, 2015). Nonetheless,
review of literature suggests that there is no consensus as to the definition of PBL.
In this study, the author takes a consideration on some raised by researchers such as
Dewey (1938), Thomas (2010), Mergendoller, 2006), Bell (2010), and a group of
educators, BIE (2015).
Originally, Dewey (1938, cited in Thomas, 2010) claims that PBL is an
implemented learning and teaching model developed based on the concept that
learning should not only prepare one for life, but should also be an integral part of
life itself. In other words, his belief when developing this approach is based on the
relationship between learning process and real life.


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In another way, PBL is considered as a comprehensive approach to classroom
teaching and learning that is designed to engage students in investigation of
complex, authentic problems and carefully designed products and tasks
(Mergendoller, 2002).
Differing from the above educators, Thomas (2010) defines PBL by providing
the following essential features:
- Students learning knowledge to tackle realistic problems as they would be
solved in the real world
- Increased student control over his or her learning
- Teachers serving as coaches and facilitators of inquiry and reflection
- Students (usually, but not always) working in pairs or groups
Then, more specifically, PBL is clarified as the learning method that places
students at the center of the learning process. Bell (2010) points out that in a project
based learning classroom, students are provided with a topic which they should
develop through researches or project works for their individual or group learning
and teachers should monitor the project performed by students. Students, in this
learning framework, are trained to be critical and responsible for their learning
(Bell, 2010). It is widely used to replace the traditional teaching method in which
the teacher, who is the center, strictly follows the teaching plan. In a project-based
learning classroom, the teacher leads the students to the learning that they desire or
to the learning which follows the project objectives. The project-based learning
process thus involves an in-depth learning process with systematic learning
management to get useful and applicable results, to create motivation, and to
reinforce necessary living skills (BIE, 2015). Project-based learning has
complicated working procedure and requires more time for operation. However, it is
flexible and the learning process involves interaction and cooperation among
learners, between learners and teachers. More importantly, when the teacher
implements the project and the project is completed, the learners will feel proud of


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themselves. This generates motivation to learners to perform better projects in the
future (Jung, Jun, & Gruenwald, 2001). Therefore, when teachers successfully
implement project-based learning, students can be highly motivated, feel actively
involved in their own learning, and produce complex, high-quality work
(Blumenfeld et al., 1991). As a consequence, PBL provides students opportunities
to gain deep understanding concepts and potentially allows them to solve society’s
problems (Moalosi et al., 2012).
Obviously, each of the researchers has their own way to approach the theory
of Project-based Learning. Thus, it is not easy to give a concise definition.
However, no matter how different their beliefs are, there are some identical features
that they share, which are then summarized by the Buck Institute for Education in
www.bie.org (BIE, 2015), a nonprofit organization that has promoted and supported
the implementation of Project-based Learning for the past 25 years. All of these
elements are divided into three groups: (1) Student Learning Goals; (2) Essential
Project Design Elements; and (3) Project Based Teaching Practice. These three
groups have a close integration which is illustrated in the following diagram.

Diagram 2.1 Gold Standard PBL


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(Adapted from Setting the Standard for Project Based Learning: A Proven
Approach to Rigorous Classroom Instruction, by John Larmer, John Mergendoller,
Suzie Boss (ASCD 2015, cited in www.bie.org).
To help readers pursue a profound understanding, they also provide the
explanation for the above elements presented in the diagram 2.1 as follow:
-

Key Knowledge, Understanding & Key Success Skills: This element

refers to success skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, and
self-management and other possible habits of mind and work and personal qualities
(such as perseverance or creativity).
-

Challenging Problem or Question: It is suggested that projects are

designed in the form of open-ended, student-friendly “driving question” that focus
on their task so as they can challenge students without intimidating.
-

Sustained Inquiry: During PBL time, students need to incorporate

different information sources, mixing the traditional idea of “research” with more
real-world, filed-based interviews with experts.
-

Authenticity: A project can be considered as the authentic one when it

has authentic context, provide the use of real-world processes, tasks, tools and
performance standards and has real impact on others and it speaks to students’ own
concern, interest, cultures, identities and issues in their life.
-

Student Voice & Choice: Having a say in a project creates a sense of

ownership in students; they care more about the project and work harder.
-

Reflection: Reflection can occur informally, as part of classroom

culture and dialogue, but should also be an explicit part of project journals,
scheduled formative assessment, discussion at project checkpoints, and public
presentations of student work.


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-

Critique & Revision: Students should be taught how to give and

receive constructive peer feedback that will improve project processes and
products, guided by rubrics, models, and formal feedback/ critique protocol
-

Public Product: A public product can be a tangible thing, a

presentation of a solution to a problem or answer to a driving question.
In this definition described by BIE (2015), all the features of Project-based
Learning theory mentioned by previous scholars are fully described. Moreover, its
outstanding point is recognized by drawing on the language conception of learning
that matches the requirements of the 21st century that students are in need. Thus,
the author would take this definition, given by the Buck Institute for Education
(BIE, 2015), as the fundamental theory for this research paper, which emphasizes
on the crucial elements of PBL such as: Key Knowledge, Understanding & Key
Success Skills, Challenging Problem or Question, Sustained Inquiry, Authenticity,
Student Voice & Choice, Reflection, Critique & RevisionandPublic Product.
2.1.1.1 Benefits of PBL in second and foreign language settings
For the past years, PBL has been studied by many researchers, who claim that
it is as an effective method in teaching and learning process, especially in the
second language learning. The use of PBL has been very rewarding because it has
been suggested to offer a wide range of benefits to both teachers and learners.
Firstly, as Fried-Booth (2002) say that the process leading to the end-product
of project work provides opportunities for students to develop their confidence and
independence. In addition, it can help students thrive their self-esteem and positive
attitudes toward their learning (Stoller, 2006). Furthermore, this is a studentcentered approach driven by students’ choices. Learners do what they chose and are
responsible for their products. As a result, they can take pride in accomplishing the
projects, which they have assiduously prepared for. Thus, they gain not only
understanding and success skills but also confidence in their abilities and a greater


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sense of their own efficacy and power. Accordingly, students’ autonomy is
enhanced.
In addition, another benefit of PBL is to improve language skills (Levine,
2004). In the process of completing their projects, students need to do a lot of
research for information to prepare content for the given topics. Most of these
sources are originally written in English, which foster students to read and
investigate the meaning. This transformative progress is seen in the types of project
works such as video project, when they are required to have real life conversations
with English native speakers. Undoubtedly, when students are engaged in
purposeful communication to complete authentic activities, they have the
opportunity to use language in a relatively natural context (Haines, 1989) and
participate in meaningful activities which require authentic language use. Hence,
PBL provides opportunities for “the natural integration of language skills” (Stoller,
2006).
One more advantage that PBL provokes for learners is increasing learning
motivation. After completing project assignments, students get some material
products as the result of their very practical efforts (e.g., preparing poster or
brochure, newspaper in English). Thus, the learning outcome is tangible, and that
generates higher positive motivation than abstract learning, which results in higher
motivation in learning of students. They can enhance their motivation, engagement
and enjoyment (Lee, 2002). Enjoyment and motivation also stem from the fact that
classroom language is not predetermined, but depends on the nature of the project
(Larsen & Freeman, 2000). From a motivational perspective, projects being
authentic tasks, are more meaningful to students, increase interest, motivation to
participate, and can promote learning (Brophy, 2004).
A further set of reported benefits pertains to the development of problemsolving and higher order critical thinking skills as a mean of metacognition (Allen,


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2004). These skills are very important, since they are life-long, transferable skills to
settings outside the classroom.
Last but not least, PBL is considered as a method for foreign language
learning environment in 21st century because it allows technology integration during
teaching and learning process (BIE, 2015)
In conclusion, there are many benefits of incorporating PBL in second and
foreign language settings have been suggested, such as develop learners’ confidence
and independence, enhance students’ autonomy, promote language skills, increase
learning motivation, develop problem-solving and higher order thinking skill as a
mean of metacognition, and integrate technology application.
2.1.1.2 Possible challenges and difficulties of the PBL implementation
In spite of the fact that PBL hold a huge number of advantages, it is necessary
to admit that some problems may appear in PBL as well. Marx et al., (1997) have
pointed out some enactment problems for teachers while implementing PBL.
Firstly, it is time. It seems that projects often take longer than anticipated. In
addition, difficulties that teachers experience in co-operating PBL into training
guidelines are exacerbated by the necessary time to implement in-depth approaches
such as PBL.
Secondly, projects may incur certain difficulties associated with classroom
management. In order for students to work productively, teachers must balance the
need to allow students to work on their own with the need to maintain order.
The third challenge relates to controlling. Teachers often feel the need to
control the flow of information while at the same time believing that students’
understanding requires that they build their own understanding. How to support for
students’ learning in PBL is the next question that needs to be considered. Teachers
have difficulties scaffolding students’ activities, sometimes giving them too much
independence or too little modeling and feedback.


14

The next obstacle moves to the requirement of technology use. In some cases,
teachers have difficulties in cooperating technology into classroom, especially as a
cognitive tool.
Last but not least is the assessment. It is time taking for teachers to design
assessment that requires students to demonstrate their understanding. Both students
and teachers need feedback that goes hand in hand with assessment. A teacher
might decide whether he/she would apply formal or informal, final or continuous
assessment. Accordingly, the requirements and assignments should be set to make
sure that teachers get the idea of what the students have learnt and understood to
have suitable support as well as guidance.
In conclusion, even though PBL is considered as an effective teaching method,
there are still some difficulties and challenges which have been experienced by both
students and teachers.
2.1.2 Definition of Project work
In the previous section, the author presents the general concept of PBL, which
build cornerstone theoretical part for this teaching and learning method. In this part,
she mentions to the tangible product of PBL named project work (PW).
Basically, Longman Dictionary of English Language and Culture defines the
word “project” as a piece of work that needs skill, effort and careful planning,
especially, over a period of time. Longman Exams dictionary gives the explanation
of a school or college project as a part of a school or college course that involves
careful study on a particular subject over a period of time (Lewis, 1993).
Then, coming to the educators, project work has been described literarily by
Dewey (1938, cited in Thomas, 2010), Thomas (2010), Bell (2010) and others. Due
to their different perspectives, there are various configurations of project definition.
Tracking back to the 19th century, Dewey (1938, cited in Thomas, 2010), who
is considered as the farther of PBL theory, says that a project work does not present


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