Supporting a project method for teaching English as a second language in the senior years
The purpose of this study was to examine the works of John Dewey, William Heard Kilpatrick, Boyd H. Bode and Harold B. Alberty in order to define a project method for future application to the teaching of English as a Second Language (E.S.L.). The researcher used content analysis to develop a philosophical context for a project method and its plausible connection to an effective teaching methodology in the area of E.S.L. The study outlines the principles inherent in such an approach, and how the philosophies of the above mentioned exemplars connect in its definition. The principles identified by the researcher for an effective project method are that it be based on inquiry and problem-solving, focused upon creating harmony between student interest and the expectations of democratic society and upon linking student experience with subjects to be learned. A project method based on inquiry would begin with student experience and interest (Dewey, Kilpatrick, Bode, Alberty) and proceed with task-oriented, purposeful activity based upon individual and group goals (Dewey, Kilpatrick). Harmony between student experience and democratic living would occur as a result of attention to balancing student interest with the expectations of society (Bode) through curricular design which encourages harmony of student interest with societal expectations (Alberty), and practices democratic living in the classroom. This type of learning would, for the student of English as a Second Language, ideally help develop all components of communicative competence (Celce-Murcia, Dornyei, & Thurrell, 1995) as students are actively engaged in the complex task of problem solving and communicating through language.