Motivation by project work A project called “Yellow Submarine” By Radka Pešlová
I´ve been teaching English for 2 years only, and so I haven´t had so much experience with teaching English yet. I´ve been teaching English at primary school, and I´m teaching only one class of 11-12 year-old-children. The class is one of the lowest at our school, and I have also many disciplinary problems there. There are 16 pupils, but three or four of them are constantly disturbing. It´s very difficult for me to keep their attention.
I have tried many various activities to animate my English lessons. One of my colleagues recommended an activity to me – a project called “Yellow Submarine”. The activity was very motivating for my pupils, and so I can recommend it to other teachers.
The work was interesting and exciting for children, and so they were motivated to continue learning English. They still don´t like English grammar but they know there are some activities that we do in our English lesson where they can show their other abilities (for example singing, drawing, using dictionary, etc.). Their attitude to learning English becomes better when they can do things that they enjoy.
I would like to present the project to you. The project includes many activities that children like – singing, drawing, cutting, gluing, and many other activities that are useful for them – using dictionary, learning and writing new words, listening, pronunciation of these words, etc. This project is a very good way how to motivate your pupils.
Learning a song
Few weeks ago we learned a well-known song of The Beatles “Yellow Submarine”.
I told them a little about The Beatles and showed them Liverpool that is connected with the name of the group on the map. I asked them if they knew any other songs of this group. Children knew the songs “Help” and “Yesterday” but they didn´t sing them.
At first children listened to music and lyrics and tried to catch some words that they know, and then they received the lyrics of this song. I explained and wrote unknown words on the board (for example submarine, cross, sky, etc.). The lyrics are quite easy, and so we tried to translate the song into Czech. Children managed it in a short time.
Then we sang the song according to the CD-player. Children enjoyed especially the chorus because it´s easy to remember its words.
We also tried to make a story about the yellow submarine up. Children couldn´t tell the story in English so well, and so I allowed them to tell the rest of story in Czech. They enjoyed the storytelling very much, because they could use their own fantasy.
work. Each of the groups had to bring a big quarter of paper, watercolours, paintbrushes, scissors, glue, crayons, magazines and pictures of one kind of things (for example animals, fish, flowers, fruit, vegetables, trees, sport disciplines, people, jobs, etc.)
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Children had to divide tasks between themselves – someone will bring the paper, someone magazines, someone watercolours, etc. They had to communicate together and rely on the other members of their group.
“Yellow Submarine” to them. I borrowed the lyrics from the song “Yellow Submarine” that we have learned before: “We all live in the yellow submarine…”, and the submarine is floating the sea. The sea – it´s the sea of our fantasy, and so when we are looking out of the window we can see very strange things in our sea of fantasy. We can see animals, fish, flowers, fruit, vegetables, trees, sport disciplines, people, jobs, etc.
I told them that I have seen the members of my family and my closest friends in the sea of my fantasy (for example my son, my boyfriend, both my parents, my grandmother, my best friend from childhood, etc.).Children were interested in my telling.
And my question is: “What will you see in your own sea of fantasy if you live in the yellow submarine? Think about it!”
Explaining procedure of project work
I explained the procedure of project work. At first children will paint the yellow
submarine floating in the blue background on the quarter of paper. They will draw themselves at the windows of the submarine.
Then they will cut the pictures of the various things of one kind (for example
animals – a dog, a cat, a mouse, a horse, a tiger, etc.), and glue them to the paper around the yellow submarine.
Children will have to describe every thing – they will write the word “dog” to its picture and so on. They will use dictionary to find unknown words.
It´s important to use the pictures of animals that names children know in Czech but not in English because of improving their English vocabulary.
Children are listening to the song “Yellow Submarine”, singing together with The Beatles, and they are working. We are listening to other songs of The Beatles.
Children are asking me for advice, and I´m ready to help them with their work. They can discuss their work, some problems, music, etc. I also discuss with them.
Children have to communicate, co-operate, divide tasks between themselves – one of them is painting, another one is cutting or gluing, another one is finding the meaning of new words or writing them to the right pictures of the things.
I´m monitoring their working activity – how each pupil takes part in their collective work because their effort is more important than the result.
6) Evaluation of the project
I evaluate especially pupils´effort than the results of their work. There was one quite
good work and three below-average works. It´s because of the low level of this class but I saw the pupils were active, they were interested in their work, and enjoyed it. The work was keeping their attention, and so they weren´t disturbing so much as usually.
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Children said they liked it, and were proud of the results of their work. They learned a new song and some new words thanks to this activity.
I´ve put the best project up on the notice board in their classroom. Children were satisfied and asked me when they can do another project. And I was satisfied, too.
Tanner, Rosie and Green, Catherine: Tasks for Teacher Education. Longman 1998.