Around the world, multilingualism is becoming increasingly prevalent. As a result, today's teenagers will likely live in more multilingual societies than previous generations. Puberty has been shown to be a second window of opportunity for language learning, as teenagers are malleable and responsive to corrective feedback. Project-based learning (PBL) is a pedagogy that can help students construct knowledge and learn critical-thinking skills. In this article, we will discuss how to make the most of this second window of opportunity through PBL and other teaching strategies.
Text by: Marina Siskou
The Benefits of PBL: PBL is a student-centered approach that creates learning experiences for teenagers. The teacher decides on the projects based on the syllabus and provides appropriate examples/models. Students are encouraged to conduct interviews, make podcasts, design menus or maps, and engage in meaningful discussions and debates. This approach allows students to express themselves and employ their skills, which leads to a sense of ownership and autonomy.
Genuine Praise: Teenagers are tech-savvy and respond positively when appreciated for their work. As a result, it is essential to provide genuine praise and recognition for their efforts. Teenagers can differentiate between genuine success and counterfeit praise, which can drive them to do their best in project-based activity.
The Role of the Teacher: During puberty, teenagers tend to defy authority. Therefore, it is counter-productive for teachers to over-talk or interfere. Teachers must act as guides and observers, discreetly watching their students take ownership of their learning and apply their skills. They should intervene to provide feedback and step back to observe the completion of the task.
Project-Based Learning Fundamentals: PBL starts with a teacher-generated question, followed by student-generated questions. Students answer their questions through research projects that involve trying to solve complicated problems that do not have easy solutions or a single answer. Teachers should remind their students that many questions allow for many answers and encourage them to guide their learning, even if it means appearing ignorant on certain issues.
Building Autonomy: Through PBL, students can build their autonomy and take ownership of their learning. As a result, teachers can nurture some of the brightest communicators of the future. Teachers can take advantage of this second window of opportunity by creating a student-centered approach that encourages students to construct knowledge, learn critical-thinking skills, and engage in meaningful discussions and debates.
In conclusion, this article has highlighted the importance of the second window of opportunity during puberty for language learning. PBL is a pedagogy that can help students construct knowledge and learn critical-thinking skills. Teachers should act as guides and observers, providing genuine praise and recognition for their students' efforts. By doing so, they can nurture some of the brightest communicators of the future.
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