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Group- and Pair Work in the EL Classroom

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Essey Group- and Pair Work in the EL Classroom

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2020

Table of Contents

Introduction..............................................................................................2

1. Group and pair work as an interactive learning method....................5-14

1.1. Advantages and disadvantages of group and pair work...............5

1.2. Peculiarities of grouping learners. .................................................8

1.3. Group and pair work at different ages............................................11

2. Methods and techniques for use in small and large groups.................15

3. Practical implementation of group and pair work

techniques in the EL classroom..............................................

Conclusions.................................................................................................

List of References........................................................................................

Introduction

The theme of the course paper is “ Group- and Pair Work in the EL Classroom ”. The objectives of the paper are to highlight the importance of work in teaching English, to describe its main peculiarities and types, to discover how it influences the students during the educational process and if it helps to learn the language. The problem of using project work in teaching English is of great importance. Project work is characterized as one of the most effective methods of teaching and learning a foreign language through research and communication, different types of this method allow us to use it in all the spheres of the educational process. It involves multi skill activities which focus on a theme of interest rather than of specific language tasks and helps the students to develop their imagination and creativity. Nevertheless, teachers are not keen on the idea of providing project work into their lessons because of the disadvantages this method has. The main idea of project work is considered to be based on teaching students through research activities and stimulating their personal interest. The research topic of the course paper is the process of teaching and learning a foreign language with the help of project work. The research focus of the paper is the content of project work activities. The research tasks are set as follows: to describe the principal characteristics of project work, to identify the types of projects and to analyse their benefits and pecularities, to analyse the project work organizing procedure. The fundamental researches in the given field were carried out by such prominent scientists and methodologists as Legutke M., Thomas H., Heines S., Brumfit C., Hutchinson T., Fried-Booth D. and others. Legutke and Thomas in their book “Process and Experience in the Language Classroom” suggest and analyse three types of projects: encounter projects, which enable students to make contact with native speakers; text projects which encourage students to use English language texts, either a range of them to research a topic or one text more intensively, for example, a play to read, discuss, dramatize, and rehearse; class correspondence projects which involve letters, audio cassettes, photographs, etc. as exchanges between learners in different countries. Another explorer of the Project Work Method, Brumfit, in “Communicative Methodology in Language Teaching” provides the analysis of projects in which advanced adult students elect to work in groups to produce a radio programme about their own country. A range of topics, for example, ethnic groups, religion, education, are assigned to the groups, who research their topic and write and rehearse a script. Hutchinson in “Introduction to Project Work” dwells upon a project on ‘Animals in Danger’ for secondary school students, in which they use knowledge from Science and Geography to research threatened species, write an article, and make a poster. Fried-Booth in his book “Project Work” suggests a more teacher-directed example suitable for junior learners at an elementary level, in which they are asked to collect food labels or wrappings from tins, cartons, packets, etc. for a period of a week. These are used to create a wall display with a map of the world illustrated with the labels, which are attached to the relevant countries of origin and export with coloured threads and pins. The map is then used for oral practice and controlled writing. Another scientist, Haines, in “Projects for the EFL Classroom” considers four types of project work, namely: informational and research projects, survey projects, production projects, and performance and organizational projects. The theoretical value of the course paper is in the generalization and detailed analysis of the fundamental characteristics of project work, the difference between the types of project work and their effectiveness.

The practical value of the paper lies in the selection of various project work English teaching procedures.

CONCLUSIONS

The objectives of the paper were to highlight the importance of the project work in teaching English, to discover how it influences the students during the educational process and if this type of work in the classroom helps to learn the language. On the basis of the literary sources studied we can come to the following conclusions that project work has advantages like the increased motivation when learners become personally involved in the project; all four skills, reading, writing, listening and speaking, are integrated; autonomous learning is promoted as learners become more responsible for their own learning; there are learning outcomes -learners have an end product; authentic tasks and therefore the language input are more authentic; interpersonal relations are developed through working as a group; content and methodology can be decided between the learners and the teacher and within the group themselves so it is more learner-centred; learners often get help from parents for project work thus involving the parent more in the child's learning; if the project is also displayed parents can see it at open days or when they pick the child up from the school; a break from routine and the chance to do something different. The disadvantages of project work are the noise which is made during the class, also projects are time-consuming and the students use their mother tongue too much, the weaker students are lost and not able to cope with the task and the assessment of projects is very difficult. However, every type of project can be held without any difficulties and so with every advantage possible. The types of projects are information and research projects, survey projects, production projects and performance and organizational projects which can be performed differently as in reports, displays, wall newspapers, parties, plays, etc. Though project work may not be the easiest instructional approach to implement, the potential payoffs are many. At the very least, with the project approach, teachers can break with routine by spending a week or more doing something besides grammar drills and technical reading.

The organization of project work may seem difficult but if we do it step by step it should be easy. We should define a theme, determine the final outcome, structure the project, identify language skills and strategies, gather information, compile and analyse the information, present the final product and finally evaluate the project. Project work demands a lot of hard work from the teacher and the students, nevertheless, the final outcome is worth the effort.

Throughout the course paper we can see that project work has more positive sides than negative and is effective during the educational process. Students are likely to learn the language with the help of projects and have more fun. To conclude, project work is effective, interesting, entertaining and should be used at the lesson.

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