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CATESOL Book Review: Project-Based Learning

Christie Sosa

CATESOL Book Review: Project-Based Learning by Erin Knoche Lverick (2019), Series Editor Thomas S.C. Farrell, TESOL Press

By Viktoriya Shevchenko and Kara Mac Donald

Challenge your students and create a collaborative classroom environment with project-based learning. Explore the benefits of using project-based learning with English language learners and learn techniques for every step of the lesson, from rubric design to assessments and reflection. Discover how to create an enriching teaching and learning experience for you and your students! - TESOL

Chapter One serves as an outline of what the text covers and what teachers will understand and therefore, be able to implement after reading the book.

Chapter Two goes beyond defining Project-Based Learning (PBL), how it nicely intersects with the objectives of Communicative Teaching (CLT) and its benefits for language learners. It outlines how PBL is distinct from Task-Based Instruction (TBI), which provides teachers the opportunity to better design activities. The reflection questions throughout nicely foster a dialogue between the reader and the text.

Chapter Three is concise but effective in describing how the process of and effective strategies for guiding students producing a final product. It lays out the structure of implementation, which parallels a typical Presentation, Practice and Production (PPP) lesson but simply over more time than one class session. Again, the reflective questions permit the reader to consider what they currently do and how this can be adjusted.

A sample PBL assignment is offered in Chapter Four to share what are effective preparation, delivery and assessment resources. Snippets of lessons plans from particular days and rubrics are offered in Tables, which outline the distinct descriptions of the PBL-PPP process.

The assessment of PBL assignments is addressed in Chapter Five encompassing both formative and summative assessment, with guidance of the development of rubrics. The discussion involves learner reflection as part of the process for on-screen in-class and off-screen in-class activities (i.e. virtual screen time currently). Reflective questions continue to serve a valuable role.

Best practices and potential obstacles using PBL are discussed in Chapter Six. The guidance is on how to motivate learners and avoid common issues. The text is not particularly geared to online delivery of PBL, but the reflective questions in each chapter permit the reader to map the guidance on to his/her teaching context through meaningful and deliberate thought.

Both these resources are extremely accessible, even for the super busier than ever teacher online and f2f classroom teacher. They are available in print and electronic format and offer some fresh ideas for even the most seasoned educator.
In closing, future monthly book reviews until November (i.e. end of the academic fall calendar) will offer resources from the two stated TESOL Press series based on the needs of membership in the COVID19 teaching context.
1 Farrell, T. S.C. (2015). Website Introduction, English Language Teacher Development Series
Call for Book Review Co-Authors
If you are interested in co-authoring a book slated for the coming months or if you would like to recommend a book that you would like to review as co-author/sole author in future issues, please contact Kara Mac Donald,