The method of projects appeared at the beginning of the century, when the minds of teachers and philosophers were aimed at finding directions, ways of developing an active independent thinking of children, to teach them not just to memorize and reproduce the knowledge that the school gives them, but to be able to apply this knowledge to practice.
The project methodology was introduced into our school already in the 30s of the XX century. However, this experience has not yielded positive results. There are several reasons for this. Theoretically, the problem was not sufficiently investigated. This led to an ambiguous understanding of the essence of school projects, their typology, and organizational forms of work. The idea, imposed from above, was not perceived by the teachers as something necessary, reasonable, important for the education of students.
The current stage of the development of the national methodology is characterized by an increased interest in the problem of using projects in teaching FL (foreign language)
The project method has found wide application in many countries of the world, mainly because it allows integrating organically knowledge of students from different areas around the solution of one problem, makes it possible to apply the received knowledge in practice, generating new ideas.
The main task of teachers is to help projects to take their proper place in the school practice of teaching FL. It is the comprehension and application of this method in the new educational, social and cultural situation, under the requirements for education at the present stage of social development, which makes it possible to talk about the school project as a new pedagogical technology that allows solving effectively the tasks of the personality-oriented approach in educating the younger generation.
When learning a foreign language, one of the directions of creative, research work is a project work. This work, as one of the forms of educational activity, can, in the opinion of modern domestic and foreign didacticians, make the learning process personally important, in which a learner can fully reveal own creative potential, manifest research abilities, fantasy, creativity, activity, independence.
Modern education needs not only exercises and systematics, but also experience that cannot be acquired without a connection with reality. The quality of education depends on how these components complement each other. Pestalozzi also advocated active learning «with head, heart, hands and feet».
Education is an individual process that takes place in a social context, so combined activities, research, experiences, during which everyone can show their potential, play a big role, consequently, for their successful implementation, independent learning and work are equally important and require personal responsibility.
When learning it is necessary to have feedback, presentation and public recognition of the results. All this together motivate learners to perform complex tasks and to work on one topic for a long time. Motivation means causing students to have a keen interest in learning activities and promoting its further preservation and enhancement. It is the project work that meets all these requirements.
What is a project? There are several features of the project: action challenge, independent work, orientation to the final product creation, democratic lesson management, connection with real life, goal-oriented planning, teamwork, integrity, interdisciplinary connection, expansion of study place.
Project work is independently planned and realized work of students, which takes place in a social environment, which allows to maximize the use of speaking skills, while speaking activity is organically intertwined in the context of other activities (games, travelling, issue of the journal). We can say that this is an open lesson that is focused on specific topic and implies the competence of all involved in the project, as well as a high degree of responsibility and self-determination. While working on the project, all learners are engaged in one topic, when all earlier acquired knowledge is activated and expanded.
«Planned work» means not only the completion of a project according to a certain plan. It is important that the interests of the learners are taken seriously and considered. The project is a form of activity that combines theory and practice, learning and practical work. It prepares learners for independent learning for quite a long time.
«In a social environment» means that projects should be carried out in groups, in the public interest and, importantly, have specific benefits for everyone, therefore the project topics usually affect various spheres of human activity, for example, ecology, economics, education.
The participants of the project determine the topic and the result of the project, they plan the terms of work and ensure that they are observed. Students choose the topic of the project based on their interests, only then they are able to engage in this work for quite a long time. They independently organize the work in groups, prepare a presentation and are responsible for the final result. For a traditional lesson, it is important that the learners' heads as containers are filled with knowledge. And what he will do with this knowledge, this is his/her own personal matter. At the end of the project work, its participants receive a product, something new that they themselves received as a result of the research of the topic. The topic of the project and its results should be socially significant, positively affect life and improve it, so the results should be presented to the public.
Teacher's role also changes significantly. On one hand, the teacher should provide freedom for the learners so that they can organize and take responsibility for the work themselves, on the other hand, they are responsible for planning and organizing all the work. The teacher refuses the role of leader and becomes a partner, advisor, expert and coordinator. He/she must be able to give the right rhythm to work and create the appropriate favourable atmosphere. Delicate, relevant teacher's help, as a rule, is gratefully accepted by the students.
The project should be viewed as a single whole, both the final product and the whole process of obtaining it are equally important. It is important to know how the result was obtained, what issues were discussed and what was realized. When planning a project, one should never forget the goal. The whole project should be planned and organized so as to finally get the desired result. The learners can not foresee and plan everything, and in this case, the help and advice of the teacher is required, the experience and competence of whom will help to plan the project realistically.
As noted earlier, it is impossible to imagine working on a project without working in groups. Therefore, learners must have strong social competencies. Only through the distribution of tasks we can achieve our goals. A rational distribution of responsibilities will ensure maximum implementation of the capabilities of each participant of the project. During the work there is a mutual learning and mutual enrichment, on the one hand, collective work, on the other hand, an individual approach is carried out. Each of the project participants takes part in the work. The participants involved in this process independently extract knowledge, information, put forward ideas together, use the acquired knowledge and skills, create. When assigning tasks in a group, it is necessary to take into account the interests of the participants. During the work on the project, all the skills, talents and abilities that sometimes have nothing to do with the language are required, for example, the ability to take pictures, draw, play music, handle equipment, etc. Everyone contributes to the final product, and the quality of this product depends on each individual participant, on how creatively and in good faith he/she will approach the task.
They should be able to work effectively in a team, resolve emerging conflicts, be able to argue, freely express their opinions, and reasonably prove their case, as well as discuss, but at the same time be tolerant: listen and respect the opinions of others. In the process of collective work, students learn to criticize and take criticism, acquiring a social competence that is useful to them in their professional activities.
Working in groups develops such qualities as cooperation, benevolence, responsibility of everyone and a sense of collective responsibility. All this is necessary to achieve the optimum result. Independence, responsibility, self-organization are encouraged in class. Students take the initiative, they are active participants and organizers of the process.
Life and interests are so diverse that the topics of the project can not fit within the framework of one subject. The most interesting projects cover several subjects. Not only the students who gain their knowledge in subjects and continue to learn with interest benefit from this, but also the teachers closely cooperate and exchange experience.
As mentioned earlier, the project work is focused on the action. This means that we need to reconsider the role of the educational audience. It becomes a workshop where you can find everything you need to do the work: directories, technical means, stationery, etc. But the activity itself is not limited only to the audience. Life outside the audience becomes the subject of the project. Project participants work in libraries, museums, exhibitions, public institutions, offices, etc.
Since the work on the project goes beyond the school, it is necessary to contact many people. Students discuss the project with parents, classmates, acquaintances, to get advice or interview, or simply to get an opinion on this topic. So the topic of the project is not limited to individual subjects, but affects real life.
Throughout the project, students acquire the competencies they need in their professional activities. They learn to work with various technical means, that is, they acquire skills in working with communication tools, they also try themselves in various roles: manager, secretary, journalist, etc. To explore the topic, project participants should use various information sources and, from the whole flow of information and available knowledge, choose the most valuable and important, in other words, learn to manage knowledge.
Work on a project consists of several steps. The first is the preparatory stage, at this stage, topic that is interesting to the majority of the project participants is selected, groups are formed, plans are developed and tasks are distributed.
Then follows the stage of implementation and presentation of the project. At this stage it is important to use all sources of information, evaluate and process the material, prepare and conduct a presentation. In the process of work, the project participants collect, compare and process various material on the project topic. It is equally important to collect and double-check the hypotheses, interview specialists and experts, compile statistics, prepare photographs, exhibition, shoot a video, etc.
At the last stage, the process and results of the project are analysed and evaluated in order to realize the correctness of the choice of the goal, the correspondence of the methods of work, the optimality of the pace of work and the fulfilment of the work plan. At this stage, a rule of constructive criticism is advisable, so that no one feels insulted, and further interest in collective work is not lost. It is important to note each participant at the end of the work, so that everyone can feel their importance and get an incentive to participate in further projects.
Above all, the project work should bring diversity to the learning process and be useful.
- Bastian J., Gudjons H.: Das Projektbuch II. Bergmann + Helbig Verlag, Hamburg 1993.
- Legutke M.: Projekte im Fremdsprachenunterricht: Bilanz und Perspektiven. Verlag Ferdinand Kamp, Bochum 1989.
- Jung L.: 99 Stichwörter zum Unterricht. Deutsch als Fremdsprache- Maü Hueber Verlag, München 2001.
- Belogrudova V. P. “About students’ research activity under the project method conditions”//Foreign languages in school.-2008.-№ 8.