Academic journal article The English Teacher

Project-Based Learning: English Carnival in Universiti Kuala Lumpur-Malaysia France Institute

Academic journal article The English Teacher

Project-Based Learning: English Carnival in Universiti Kuala Lumpur-Malaysia France Institute

Article excerpt

Introduction

There is a need to use multi-faceted approaches to deliver content and develop softskills among students. To fulfill this need, UniKL-MFI English Unit prepared a project to be implemented to achieve the desired language skills and proficiency. This project called for innovation in teaching and learning by integrating technology and at the same time helped students used their minds by applying the higher order thinking and problem-solving skills. The new approach namely Project-based Learning was introduced to achieve 21st century skills and activity-based learning to encourage self-directed, self-paced and self-accessed learning among students. PBL was also used for students to learn in an authentic, challenging and multidisciplinary environment. The project was designed by the students and carried out in real situation, and evaluated by their lecturers.

Motivating and engaging students in active learning is challenging even for the most experienced teachers. Due to students' different learning styles, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, prescriptions of either a "one-size-fits-all" approach or the lack of originality does not gear them towards achieving high standards. The suggested PBL is important in the learning process. Moving away from rote learning and memorization, PBL builds on individual strengths, and allows individuals to explore their interests in the framework of a defined curriculum. PBL is holistic in nature, interdisciplinary and encourages cooperative learning. It also lends authenticity to learning. While in practice, practitioners plan, implement and evaluate projects in real-world situations beyond the classrooms. Besides, PBL helps students develop skills for living in a knowledge-based and highly technological society. Solving highly complex problems requires students to have both fundamental skills and digital-age skills. With this combination of skills, students become directors and managers of their own learning, guided and mentored by a skilled lecturer.

Problem Statement

English Instruction at UniKL-MFI

UniKL-MFI is an advanced technical training centre in the field of engineering technology specializing in automation, electrical, mechanical and maintenance. It offers courses at Diploma and Bachelor levels. UniKL-MFI is a collaborative project between Malaysia and France. The mission of the university is to produce enterprising global technopreneurs, and its graduates are geared towards becoming professionals, highly equipped with the required skills and competence in both the technical and non- technical fields. Thus, English plays an important role in assuring that these students are able to compete with graduates from other universities upon graduation. UniKL believes that the function of English in the employment domain is both obvious and prevalent locally and globally. People with high academic qualifications, computer and technical skills and have good proficiency in English can expect to be employed faster. There is also the general knowledge that job interviews for professional vacancies in critical fields such as Law, Accountancy and Engineering are expected to be conducted in English. Thus, to achieve this goal, UniKL-MFI students undergo 3-4 semesters of learning English throughout their studies, and during these semesters, they are introduced to almost every aspect of language and communication, and this is where PBL plays its role.

In the traditional classroom of higher institutions of learning, students are generally regarded as passive learners and recipients of the educational content. Assessments of student learning are generally based on their individual work such as quizzes, examinations and tests. Each student competes with his/her peers to obtain the highest score that can be achieved individually. There is very little interaction among the students, and they rarely have any opportunity to work together as a team and cooperate in their learning processes. …

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