There are three skills teachers are supposed to master in learning a new language:
they must learn to read it;
they should learn to understand it when they hear it;
they should learn to speak it.
Most modern school curricula require all subjects to encourage initiative, independence, self-discipline, imagination, development of all language skills, so the project work is a way of turning such general aims into practical classroom activity and involve children into teaching process [6, 119].
Project provides a natural context in which these separate parts can be re-integrated in learners minds. This is important for students to be sure about their own abilities to use target language in real situations. It is students own interests to produce language that is accurate and fluent.
Teachers and students encourage that projects break the routine. Project work demands creature and a lot of enthusiasm for both- teachers and learners.
Project work is very effective method because:
themes and target tasks for project learning derived from all forms and objects of life;
learners are involved with the ideas through a process of discussion, experimentation, reflection, and application of insights to the new stages of experimentation.
For planning the structure of project work students and teacher make sure about every pupils responsibilities. During the project students practise in main language skills listening, speaking, reading and writing.
3.1 Developing Reading and Listening Skills
Reading and listening are receptive skills.
Reading is not a passive skill. It is an incredibly active occupation. To do it successfully, we have to understand what the words mean, see the picture, the words are painting, understand the arguments and work out of we agree with them.
When we read a text in our own language, we frequently have a good idea of the content before we actually read. Book covers give us a hint of what is in the book, photographs and headline hint at what articles are about and reports look like reports before we read a single word. Teachers should give students “hints” so that they can predict what is coming too. It will make them better and more engaged readers.
There are many reasons why getting students to read English texts which is an important part of the teachers job. In the first place, many of them want to be able to read texts in English either for their careers, for study purposes or simply for pleasure.
A balance has to be struck between real English on one hand and the students capabilities and interest on the other. There is some authentic written material which beginner students can understand to some degree: menus, timetables, sings and basic instructions, for example, and, where appropriate, can be used in project work. But for longer prose, teachers may want to offer their students texts which, while being like English, are nevertheless written or adapted especially for their level. The important thing is that such texts are as much like real English as possible [6, 86].
Listening is a skill and any help students can be offered, in performing that skill will help them be better listeners. Listening to tapes is a way of bringing different kinds of speaking into the classroom, it is possible to play different kinds of tape to them, e.g. conversation, “plays”, interviews, stories read aloud, telephone exchanges etc.
One of the main reasons for getting students to listen to spoken English is to let them hear different varieties and accents rather than just the voice of their teacher with its own idiosyncrasies. In todays world, they need to be exposed not only to one variety of English (British English, for example) but also to varieties such as American English, Australian English, Indian English or West African English. [6,124].
The debate about use of authentic listening material is just as fierce in listening as it is in reading. If, for example, teachers play a tape of a political speech to complete beginners, they will not understand a word. If, on the other hand, students are given a realistic (though not authentic) tape of a telephone conversation, they may learn to gain confidence as a result. Everything depends on level, and the kind of tasks that go with a tape.
There may be some authentic material which is usable by beginners such as pre-recorded announcements, telephone messages, etc.
There are numbers of ways in which listening activities differ from otter classroom exercises: firstly, tapes go at the same special for everybody.
Listening is special, too, because spoken language, especially when it is informal, has a number of unique features including the use of incomplete utterances, repetitions, hesitation, etc., experience of informal spoken English together with an appreciation of other spoken factors the tone of the voice, the intonation the speakers use, rhythm, and background noise will help students tease meaning out of such speech phenomena.
3.2 Developing Speaking and Writing Skills
Speaking and writing are the productive skills. Production processes control how well the child can reproduce the models responses.
There are three basic reasons why it is a good idea to give students speaking tasks which provoke them to use all and any language at their command:
1. Rehearsal: getting students to have a free discussion gives them a chance to rehearse having discussion in project work.
2. Feedback: speaking tasks where students are trying to use all and any language they know provides feedback for both teacher and students. Teacher can see how well their class is doing and what language problems they are having (that is a good reason for project lessons); students can also see how easy they find a particular kind of speaking and what they need to improve.
3. Engagement: good speaking activities can and should be highly motivating. Many speaking tasks (role-playing, discussion, problem-solving) can be used in the project work [6, 88]
There are four types of speaking activity:
One popular information-gap activity is called “Describe and Draw”. It has many of the elements of an ideal speaking activity.
One way of provoking conversation and opinion exchange is to get students to conduct questionnaires and surveys. If the students plan these questionnaires themselves, the activity becomes even more useful.
Role-play activities are those where students are asked to imagine that they are in different situations and act accordingly. Teachers can organise discussion sessions in their classroom, too.
Writing is a basic language skill, just as important as speaking, listening, and reading. Students need to know how to write letters, how to put written reports together, how to reply to advertisement and increasingly, how to write using electronic media. Part of teachers job is to give students that skill.
There are four writing sequences:
report writing [6,81-83]
Another factor which can determine teachers choice of writing task is the students interests. Teachers decisions, though, will be based on how much language the students know, what their interests are, and what teacher thinks will not only be useful for them but also motivate them as well.
To sum up it is possible to say that while project work all language skills should be trained. So, speaking activities may well form one part of a much longer sequence which includes reading or listening and, after the activity, study work. The teaching of reading is intimately bound up with the teaching of writing: the one provides the model for the other. Writing is a basic language skill, just as important as speaking, listening and reading. Listening is a skill and any help teachers can give students in performing that skill will help them to be better listeners.
Practical Use of the Project Work “My Body”
The aim of the practical application of the project work “My Body” was to investigate the possibility to increase the students interest in learning the English language, to develop all language skills and improve knowledge of young learners.
This part of the work passed through certain stages:
questionnaire to study the students types of the intelligence;
selection tasks and activities for project work “My Body”;
practical implementation of the project material;
analysis of the results obtained.
The practical application of the material was carried out from 1st October 2003 till 17th October 2003. It was realized in Jēkabpils Secondary School No2 with 4-th formers, three hours of the English language a week. The group consisted of 23 students.
4.1 The Results of the Questionnaire
To study the types of the students intelligences in the class, according to the first stage, the investigation was carried out. In order to do that the students were asked to answer the questions. (Appendix 2)
Figure 1. Types of the Intelligences in Form 4
Figure 1 shows the result of the questionnaire where the vertical axis reflects the percentage of the students intelligences in 4-d class.
It turned out that the most part of the learners had linguistic, visual and socialiser intelligences. So, refering to the Gardners table of intelligences (see Chapter 2) it is possible to conclude that 6 learners like to read, write