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Trialing project-based learning in a new EAP ESP course: A collaborative reflective practice of three college English teachers


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Currently in many Chinese universities, the traditional College English course is facing the risk of being ‘marginalized’, replaced or even removed, and many hours previously allocated to the course are now being taken by EAP or ESP. At X University in northern China, a curriculum reform as such is taking place, as a result of which a new course has been created called ‘xue ke’ English. Despite the fact that ‘xue ke’ means subject literally, the course designer has made it clear that subject content is not the target, nor is the course the same as EAP or ESP. This curriculum initiative, while possibly having been justified with a rationale of some kind (e.g. to meet with changing social and/or academic needs of students and/or institutions), this is posing a great challenge for, as well as considerable pressure on, a number of College English teachers who have taught this single course for almost their entire teaching career. In such a context, three teachers formed a peer support group in Semester One this year, to work collaboratively co-tackling the challenge, and they chose Project-Based Learning (PBL) for the new course. This presentation will report on the implementation of this project, including the overall designing, operational procedure, and the teachers’ reflections.
Based on discussion, pre-agreement was reached on the purpose and manner of collaboration as offering peer support for more effective teaching and learning and fulfilling and pleasant professional development. A WeChat group was set up as the chief platform for messaging, idea-sharing, and resource-exchanging. Physical meetings were supplementary, with sound agenda but flexible time, and venues. Mosoteach cloud class (lan mo yun ban ke) was established as a tool for virtual learning, employed both in and after class. Discussions were held at the beginning of the semester which determined only brief outlines for PBL implementation and allowed space for everyone to autonomously explore in their own way. Constant further discussions followed, which generated a great deal of opportunities for peer learning and lesson plan modifications. A reflective journal, in a greater or lesser detailed manner, was also kept by each teacher to record the journey of the collaboration. At the end of the semester, it was commonly recognized that, although challenges existed, the collaboration was overall a success and they were all willing to continue with it and endeavor to refine it to be a more professional and productive approach.

Item Type: Paper presented at a conference, workshop, or other event which was not published in the proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords: ESOL, chinese universities
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1028 Education Research
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Schools > Centre for Languages
Depositing User: Wang Yi
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2020 03:02
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 08:44

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