Sessions / Task-Based Learning
This is a case study of a CLIL (content-language integrated learning) STEM (science technology engineering mathematics) task-based course for college freshmen majoring in technical fields such as engineering or science. Students build electronic circuits using breadboards and discrete components, and become able to explain in both L1 and L2 how to construct and operate the circuits. Our students have never done these tasks before. Our students are familiar with electronics theory but are unaware of actual circuits and components. For example, on an LED (light emitting diode) the positive (also called anode) lead is longer than the negative (also called cathode) lead. By learning how to identify components and build circuits, students balance their theoretical and practical knowledge. We provide assembly instructions in L1, and similar phrases in L2. After building, testing, and demonstrating kits to classmates, students write assembly instructions in L2. Much of the CLIL component of this course is in vocabulary. We expose students to both L1 and L2 because students need to become bilingual. Much of the STEM component is in practical electronics. Although our results are not necessarily generalizable, our experience may assist practitioners seeking course designs or teaching plans for CLIL and STEM.
Are you adequately preparing your students for success outside of the language classroom? We asked ourselves this same question. In a one-year elective class aimed at developing professional skills, the educators aspired to facilitate university students’ abilities to excel in all classes and to become better prospective employees. By the end of each semester, students were tasked with creating projects that would require knowledge, research tools, and a number of technical skills. The hurdle was high and intimidating. However, by employing a progressive approach to project based learning (PBL), students learned skills in earlier projects that could transfer not only to the final projects, but also to other courses and employment options. Students themselves remarked on the progress that they were making and their abilities to apply what they had learned earlier to what was to come later. This presentation will share ideas behind the conceptualization of the class, data from what students learned in terms of skills and language, share student reactions and advice for improving the course, and help attendees to conceive of their own progressive PBL courses.