Project WorkLearning outcomesProject ideasFAQShort film project: OverviewScopePlanningPreparationFinalising and follow-upEvaluationLessons: 123456789101112131415Deliverables: Main ideaProgress reportOutline ScriptReferencesPowerPointPortfolio
A practical guide to running a successful 30-hour (15-lesson) short film project in English with (pre-)intermediate students: planning, lessons, evaluation, deliverables, samples and experiences, plus ideas for other projects.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a project?
A project is an extensive task wherein all English skills, subject knowledge, higher level thinking skills and creativity are combined... Read more »

What do the students learn in a project?
In projects the students not only acquire language, but also improve their higher order thinking skills, express their creativity, use new technology, increase their social skills and possibly learn other subject knowledge... Read more »

How can I make the project work? It looks so complicated.
Theory and practice have reported many challenges in project work, but the solutions to almost every problem are:
  1. Information. Make clear what you expect of the students, why you want them to do it and when it should be ready. Giving them a syllabus with the planning and evaluation helps a lot.
  2. Motivation. Be student-centered, give the students the freedom to make their own decisions within the boundaries you set, give regular feedback, praise when they deserve it and they will enjoy doing the work.
  3. Project management. As the teacher you are the facilitator. Let the students take their own responsibility, but once things (threaten to) to go wrong, act.
How can I manage the classroom?
A project classroom is noisier than a regular classroom because of continuous team and class discussions. You will have to get used to more noise, but you should agree with the students in advance to try keeping the noise level low. Disturbances and inactive students should be dealt with swiftly.

How can I manage the time?
With the project planning in place and distributed to the students in the syllabus there should not be any major problems with time management. You should agree with them in advance that tasks have to be finished timely and properly, and if necessary outside class.

How can I prevent students from using their native language?
You can not stop the students from using their native language when they work in teams, especially when their level of English is low, but you can stimulate them to speak English.

How can I make all team members contribute?
One of the purposes of the teamwork is that the students help each other learn so that everyone can improve. Make sure they understand this. Some students will try not to do any work, or only perform certain tasks. Give them instant feedback when you see this happening in the classroom or while discussing the progress report with the teams. Make sure they help each other, take part in every type of activity and do their fair share of the work.

Can my students do a project?
Yes, they can, with your help. At the beginning they need your guidance and frequent feedback, but later you can shift more responsibility to them and let them work more autonomously.

Is there any homework?
Homework is limited so that you have the opportunity to observe their teamwork in class. Teams that work diligently in class will rarely have to do anything outside class (except for e.g. recording the film in the short film project).

What do I do when my students copy or let others do their work?
One of the teaching topics is summarising, paraphrasing, quotations and copyrights, so the students know how (not) to use other people's work. Warn them that they won't get a score for their writing (scripts) if you find it copied. If you let the students do most of the work in class they won't have much opportunity to copy or subcontract the work anyway.

What kind of projects can I do?
If you want to do your own English project you can for example let your students produce a short film, web site or blog. If you lack technology, you can do a tour, quiz show, play, brochure, newspaper or magazine... Read more »

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