4 Benefits of PBL for ELL

4 Benefits of Project-Based Learning for English Language Learners

Posted: Feb 21 2017

1. Builds Vocabulary: Visual learning helps students master new vocabulary and concepts. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by wordy, unclear worksheets, images and diagrams explain complex concepts quickly. Students learn to associate new vocabulary words with the images and diagrams. In the photo: Students identified circles, triangles, and squares as flat, 2-dimensional shapes whereas cylinders, pyramids, and cubes are 3-dimensional forms.

2. Promotes Learning by Doing: Project-based learning allows students to work with their hands and explore new concepts through various types of materials and objects. Students learn by doing. When they work collaboratively, they use new vocabulary to discuss ideas and solutions. In the photo: Language learners feel more comfortable manipulating items they can use rather than staring at words they don’t understand.

3. Shows the Value of Teamwork: As students collaborate to complete assignments with their classmates they learn that they don’t have to have all the answers. When problem solving, the team is stronger than the individual. They gain a personal understanding of new vocabulary and concepts. Bilingual students aid those that need help with understanding assignments. The student helper becomes a skilled translator in the process! In the photo: Here, a second-generation American student helps her groupmate who did not understand the instructions because she recently moved to the United States.

4. Provides Authentic Assessment: Student mastery of concepts (such as distinguishing shapes from forms) is easily observed through project-based learning. Teachers have the opportunity to assess their students as they work on projects and provide one-to-one instruction to students that require additional help. In the photo: Students continue to investigate shapes and forms as they create a timeline filled with both elements.

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