Chapter

Planning and assessing group (video) projects in foreign language classes.

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Abstract

This chapter provides suggestions for the planning, conduct, and assessment of group (video) projects in foreign language classes. It first outlines a rationale for the use of project work and discusses the benefits and challenges of incorporating group projects in foreign language classes. To illustrate how group projects may be implemented and assessed within a specific course, the chapter describes an intermediate-level content- and task-based foreign language course on fairy tales. It details how course objectives, tasks, and assessments are aligned and how a group video project, in which students plan, produce, and present their own (modern) fairy tale film, is integrated in the course. The proposed assessments are both process-based and product-based and include self-assessment, peer assessment, and assessment by the instructor. Forms and rubrics that are used by students and instructor to assess the process of participating in the project and the project’s end product are presented so that they can be adapted easily by interested readers.

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... Video group projects can easily be incorporated in conversation courses. I argued previously that such projects have the potential to be learner centered, stimulating and motivating, and that they allow for student collaboration, autonomy, authentic language use, and the production of an end product that can be shared with peers, instructors, family, and friends (Ecke, 2019). Others also provided rationales, examples and guidelines for the inclusion of video projects in foreign language classes (e.g., Gaunt, 2002;Goulah, 2007;Jany, 2015;Meyer & Forester, 2015;Nikitina, 2010). ...
Chapter
In this chapter, I describe and discuss the challenges that I faced developing, teaching, and assessing an intermediate-level conversation class in German as a foreign language. I address three major challenges with respect to the teaching and assessment of students in this course, describe the choices that I made converting this course into a more learner-centered class, and evaluate the consequences based on the analysis of students' responses to anonymous course evaluations as well as course statistics (student attendance records and grades in different assessment categories). The three challenges that I attempted to address were (1) aligning course objectives, activities, and assessments, (2) designing tasks and assessments that the instructor and students would find useful in helping them achieve course objectives, and (3) creating positive backwash through assessments that would promote student attendance, participation, and engagement in a learner-centered conversation class.
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Bio data: Patrick Foss (M.Ed.), Nathaniel Carney (M.A.), Kurtis McDonald (M.A.), and Matthew Rooks (M.A.) teach in the EFL program at the School of Science and Technology at Kwansei Gakuin University in Sanda, Japan. Their research interests include fluency development (Foss), computer-mediated intercultural learning (Carney), meaningful language learning (McDonald), and comprehensible input (Rooks). Abstract This paper examines the effectiveness of the project-based teaching approach in a short-term intensive English program for Japanese university EFL students. Four distinct projects are described and evaluated, and the benefits and limitations of the four projects are given. The paper shows that project-based instruction is a viable and flexible alternative to traditional intensive English coursework.
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This article describes a fourth-year German course on fairy tales that focuses on the integration of academic content with linguistic skills through technology-enhanced course modules. Situated in the discussion of the language-literature gap and the benefits of computer-assisted language learning, the proposed online course modules may prove appropriate in other German classes, thereby providing language educators with specific examples to help integrate the teaching of language and literature through online activities. Research findings from a qualitative study revealed several positive outcomes including increases in students' self-perceived confidence, motivation, and language skills as well as various challenges related to instructor involvement and functionality issues.
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Project-based instruction has gained some popularity in general education and in second-language (L2) education. However, a review of the literature shows discrepancies between teachers' and students' evaluations of this activity. For example, general education teachers and students find that project-based instruction creates opportunities for in-depth learning of subject-matter content, which fosters student independence and problem-solving skills. However, English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers' and students' evaluations show mixed results. Although some anecdotal reports and one systematic research study show ESL teachers endorsing project-based instruction because it provides opportunities for comprehensible output and integrated language teaching, there is evidence that ESL students and at least one ESL teacher are frustrated by this form of instruction. These students felt that project-based instruction prevented them from learning from the teacher and textbooks and from focusing on language skills. The ESL teacher felt a loss of student respect and noted a drop in student attendance. These discrepancies are discussed from philosophical, cultural, and linguistic perspectives. Recommendations for research and pedagogy are proposed. For example, it is suggested that a framework be developed to aid ESL teachers in assisting their multicultural students to understand the benefits of project-based instruction in L2 learning.
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Despite widespread use of self-assessment, teachers have doubts about the value and accuracy of the technique. This article reviews research evidence on student self-assessment, finding that (1) self-assessment produces consistent results across items, tasks, and short time periods; (2) self-assessment provides information about student achievement that corresponds only in part to the information generated by teacher assessments; (3) self-assessment contributes to higher student achievement and improved behavior. The central finding of this review is that (4) the strengths of self-assessment can be enhanced through training students how to assess their work and each of the weaknesses of the approach (including inflation of grades) can be reduced through teacher action.
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Self-assessment has been used widely in language testing research, but has produced variable results. In many quarters self-assessment is considered a viable alternative to formal second language assessment for placement and criterion-referenced interpretations, although variation in self-assessment validity coefficients suggests potential difficulty in accurate interpretation. This article first summarizes the research literature with the use of a formal meta-analysis conducted on 60 correlations reported in the second language testing literature. These are the basis for estimates of median effect sizes for second language speaking, listening, reading and writing tests. The second phase of the study is an empirical analysis of the validity of a self-assessment instrument. 236 'just-instructed' English as a foreign language learners completed self-assessments of functional English skills derived from instructional materials and from general proficiency criteria. The learners' teachers also provided assessments of each of the 236 learners. The criterion variable was an achievement test written to assess mastery of the just-completed course materials. Contrastive multiple regression analyses revealed differential validities for self-assessment compared to teacher assessment depending on the extent of learners' experience with the language skill self-assessed.
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Provides a rationale for content-based instruction and demonstrates how project work can be integrated into content-based English-as-a-Second-Language classrooms. Outlines the primary characteristics of project work, introduces project work in its various configurations, and presents practical guidelines for sequencing and developing a project. (Author/VWL)
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This study investigated the differences in levels of achievement when learning the preterite and imperfect aspects in Spanish, at the recognition and production levels, between students who used instruction with video/photo blogs and wikis, compared to those who used instruction with traditional text-based technologies. Results revealed that there were no significant differences at the production level between the students who used video/photo blog and wiki technologies vs. those who used traditional technologies. However, significant differences were found at the recognition level for the group that used video/photo blogs and wikis when compared with those who used traditional technologies. General mean results revealed that the groups using video/photo blogs and wikis outperformed those who used traditional technologies.
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Fairy tales are certainly not new to foreign language instructors, but on occasion they have been considered either exoteric or unworthy of class time. Yet today there is a resurgence of interest in fairy tales and a rebirth of their use in the arts, which may serve foreign language instructors. This article presents historical background to inform instructors of the origin and development of European fairy tales, while also providing them with necessary information to answer students' questions on fairy tales. It further describes how the author weaves fairy tales into classes on several levels and illustrates how well the tales lend themselves to the learning of other languages and cultures. Course details offer instructors some essentials that may prove beneficial in designing their own courses.
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This instrumental case study examines how adolescent high-intermediate Japanese language learners enrolled in a one-month credited abroad program used digital video as a mediational tool for (1) learning foreign language, content, and technology skills, (2) cultivating critical multiliteracies and transformative learning regarding geopolitics and the environment, and (3) augmenting their portfolios (Gee, 2004a). Framed in sociocultural and transformative learning theories, this study also suggests that digital video production engaged students extensively in language-based tasks and cultivated collaboration and creativity. Implications suggest future research applying digital video to various languages, levels, and contexts, particularly those in traditional schools and curricula.
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Multimedia equipment enables second language (L2) instructors to explore innovative course approaches, but such technologies are sometimes adapted with few pedagogical considerations. For optimal results, it is important to adapt multimedia technologies in a task-based activity whereby the resulting product delivers meaningful L2 content of practical value in the real world. This article describes a course project in which a group of intermediate Japanese language learners at the University of Arkansas produced the university's promotional video in the target language. Students wrote and narrated a script that described features of the university's popular colleges and facilities, videotaped the scenes on campus, and edited the recordings into a three-minute Japanese promotional video with English subtitles. The complete promotional video was later uploaded for viewing on the Worldwide Web. By employing user-friendly computer software, the students produced a promotional video of substantial real-life value and of near-professional audiovisual quality. Pedagogically, this video serves not only as a showcase of the learners' L2 skills but as a motivational tool for students with limited opportunities to use their target language.
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--Kansas State University, 2002. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 131-145).
Article
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of British Columbia, 1999. Includes bibliographical references (p. 224-242).
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