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Running a project

August 10, 2006

An idea for a student-centred activity.

Hello again,

I suggested in a recent post that projects were an example of student-centred learning. I didn’t have anything too ambitious in mind and the teacher needs to be able to clear instructions and firm guidance so that the students don’t feel overwhelmed.

A simple but absorbing project ...

...could involve comparing lifestyles. In phase one, the students would first analyse their own lifestyles: eating habits, routines, exercise patterns, leisure activities, time spent studying, time spent with family, type of house, what kind of town etc.

Once the student’s personal profiles are complete, they should identify three or so people of different ages, indeed as different from themselves as possible. They then need to devise a comprehensive questionnaire for information gathering. The next stage is to interview their chosen people (of course, they have to be English speakers). If it is difficult to find English speakers, then they could interview teachers in the school or perhaps they could carry out some email interviews if you have school links with Anglophone countries. If it is really too difficult to find English speakers, then they could interview other students but that, of course, would limit areas of difference.

When they have collected their information, they need to collate it and decide how to present it. They could give oral presentations to the class, or you could have some sort of poster presentation by topic with the information displayed on the classroom walls.
Just make sure that the project includes all the language skills.

In a recent project of this kind held in the UK, British kids compared lifestyles with Romanian children and discovered that Romanian kids had more exercise and ate healthier food. It’s the kind of activity that involves good language practice and reveals interesting and sometimes unexpected facts.

Back soon,
Brenda.

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