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Project Based Learning to Improve Students Speaking Ability

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This article aims to describe the implementation of the project based learning to improve students speaking ability. Project based learning is a kind of learning method in which it uses students center approach. It is also applicable for all levels of the students. As a method, project based learning engages students to make a product which is based on several processes. This article present several information for project based learning which is really potential to improve students` speaking ability. The information is started from the background of project based learning to improve students` speaking ability, the characteristics, the steps, the advantages and disadvantages of project based learning. Viewed from the characteristics, steps and some others research studies, Project based learning can be used to improve students’ ability, motivation, and interest in learning English. From those previous researches, project-based learning can indeed to improve students English language skills, mainly speaking ability. Therefore, this article is made to provide an overview and information related to Project based learning so that it can be used as additional knowledge especially for teaching speaking.

Key word: Project based learning, students` speaking ability

1. Introduction

In English learning, there are four kinds of skills must be mastered by the students. One of them is speaking skill. By speaking, the students can maintain their idea and also social relationship by communicating with others students. The students study English in order they are able to speak fluently by using English. That is why, most people say that the ability to speak in English is a product of English learning. According to Guang (2007: 1), speaking is the ability of someone to express or communicate orally by using language. People express or communicate their idea, feeling, opinion and also information by using language. It means that there is a process of people in speaking in order to produce, receipt, and also process the information through communication. According to the national standards in Indonesia (2006), speaking skill is one the goal of English learning in the schools. By learning speaking, the students are able to speak fluently in order to give opinion or information by using English. The teachers need to teach speaking for the students in the school to increase the their qualities of performance or activities. These activities are important for students to build their knowledge and skill, as well as increase the student’s confidence in the classroom.

Th students need much exercise and also practice for their speaking skill, however there are many problem occur in students` speaking learning process. One of the problems is feeling anxiety. Brown (1994), says that anxiety becomes one of the problems faced by students in speaking class. The students are anxious because they are afraid to speak, and also judged as incomprehensible students. They are also anxious because they avoid making mistake. It is also same with the researcher observation. Most English teachers said that teaching speaking was difficult because some students were afraid to speak, less of vocabulary and they tried to avoid making mistake. Now, the problems itself is not only come from the students but also the teacher. Some teachers say that speaking is a skill while teaching is a model. That is why teaching speaking is difficult for some teachers. Therefore, the English teachers usually train the students by using traditional learning.

To overcome those problems, one of the model that can be used by the teachers is project based learning or PBL. According to Patton, (2012:13), project based learning or PBL refers to a method in which it allows the students to design, plan, and carry out an extended project in the form of product, publication, and presentation. Project based learning differs than traditional learning in which project based learning more focus to the process in making a product. In line with this, Fragoulis (2009), says that PBL will engage students to communicate purposefully in the authentic activities. Authentic activities are important for the students, so that the students will have the opportunities to use the language more in natural context.

This article is supported by previous researches.

The previous research which entitled “The Implementation of Project-Based Learning to Teach Speaking a Spoken Advertisement for the Eighth Graders of SMPN 40 Surabaya” written by Humairoh (2014). The result shows that project-based learning is a model of learning in which it is effective to teach speaking. Based on the research, the students were also very enthusiastic, and more creative in the classroom.

The second research was from Herlina Dewi (2016) which entitled “Project Based Learning to Improve Speaking Skill”. The researcher used several data collections such as observation sheets, tests, and student questionnaire sheets. The result showed that, there was an improvement of speaking skill of the students in each cycle.

2. The characteristics of Project based learning Project-based learning is a method of learning that is suitable for all levels of education. In addition, project based learning is also effective to be applied to improve the skills of students. However, the teachers should know in advance some characteristics of project based learning, because project based learning is different from project. According to Buck Institute for Education as cited in Made (2000, 145), Project-based learning has several characteristics.

a. Students make decisions and frameworks.

Decisions or framework regard to what should be done by the students related to the topic given by the teacher. The teachers give the authentic topic and the students define and create a framework in groups in the classroom.

b. Problem solving.

In this case, problems mean the issues or questions that approximately appears when doing a project. This problem will deal with the successful execution of the project. Project based learning is a model of learning in which it uses students centered approach. In this case, the students try to solve the problem in groups that may faced and the teachers guide them.

c. Students design the process to achieve results.

In project based learning, the students determine the range of activities or steps that must be done toward the progresses of the project. This is different with traditional learning where the process is based on the teacher and it is rigid. In PBL, when the process of achieving the data is not match with the step with the activities carried out, the students are allowed to gather with the group to discuss the steps or processes.

d Students are responsible for obtaining and managing the information gathered.

Project based learning is based on student center approach. the students try to get and manage their own information. The information obtained is related to kinds of topic or project. So it is also same with the managing the information, it is entirely the responsibility of each student or group work. On the other hand, the teacher is only a facilitator.

e. Students conduct continuous evaluation.

Evaluation is not only done at the end of the activity, but also done continuously or gradually during the activity. Therefore, a mistake in the process and change of the data is a natural process. This is where the role of teachers as a facilitator or controller of the implementation process of project based learning.

f. There is Product

Project based learning is one of the learning model done to produce the product. The products they completed may be written or presented in front of the class. While presenting, there will be evaluation. Evaluation done by teacher with student. If there are some errors or mistake toward the product presented, other students must not blame, but it must be understood, discussed and improved into a better project.

3. The steps in implementing PBL

Project based learning is a learning method that prioritizes the process before producing a product. In addition PBL is also done in group work. First, the Teachers should know the characteristics of PBL and most importantly the teacher knows the steps how to implement PBL in the classroom. According to The George Lucas Educational Foundation (2005), describes the steps of learning by using learning model project based learning (PBL) as follows:

1) Start with essential question

Learning activities begin by providing challenging questions to students at the beginning of the lesson. Give the question that lead students to speak in the context of project-based learning and assign tasks to students to undertake a controlled activity. The questions conveyed were the questions that relate to the real world and began with depth investigation. For example, teaching drama. Commonly, drama can be defined as the performance of the dialog that relates with social facts of life. Drama also can be expressed as a mirror of real life. In this case, there is a question and answer session between students and teachers related to the topic.

2) Design the plan for project

The second step is the students with the teacher guidance prepare the plan for the project. The students determine the range of activities to be undertaken in the project from the beginning to the end of the project. There are several activities that can be done by the student related to this steps, such as determining project size, determine the rules of the project, select the activities to be carried out with the response or answer to essential questions, and determining materials and tools required.

3) Create a schedule

In this step, the students with teacher guidance are required to create a schedule or timeline of activities based on the planning. The purpose of this activity is to provide students with deep understanding in order to undertake a large project. A group work needs a good schedule to make the project work as planned. Nevertheless, this activity is attempted to be done as simply and do not confuse the students. For example: the teacher can give an example of the schedule of activities. After giving a briefing from the teacher, the students can do the activities as regular learning.

4) Monitor the students and the progress of the project

In carrying out the project, students get monitor from the teacher. The teacher monitors what have been done or not by the students, such as some difficulties that may can not be solved by the students. This will make a teacher not only as a working control but also mentoring process. Mentoring means the students control the process and help the students to give the information or help their problems.

5) Assessment

Assessment is done toward the process of the students in order to make project or authentic assessment. Authentic assessment means the assessment that is used by the teacher to measure the students achievement through process. Assessment is also used to measure the student achievement competence. In project based learning, the teacher assesses the process or the steps of activities conducted by the students to make a product. However, the teacher also need to measure the product at the end of the project. Therefore, the teacher is required to make the various assessments as authentic as possible by utilizing the rubric.

6) Evaluation

Learning activities end with project

evaluation. The activities are undertaken by teachers and also students to reflect

on project implementation. Students are required to present the project, revealing

what they do and understand during the project. In addition, students are also

asked to express their feelings and what they have got as new experiences. In

evaluating the students, the teachers or the students can provide feedback,

comment, and suggestion.

4. The advantages and disadvantages of project based learning

In the 21st century, PBL is one of the effective learning methods for students. The characteristics and how PBL is applied, PBL leads to student center approach of learning, prioritizing the process to achieve results and reflection of learning. Those can be said as advantages of PBL. But, we must also pay attention to some disadvantages of PBL. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of using project based learning in the classroom.

A. The advantages

1. PBL increases students’ learning motivation.

The teachers can use project based learning in order to increase students motivation. Through PBL, the learners make their projects based on several processes. The students will do the process which suit with the interests and abilities. That is why project based learning highly motivate the learners. Another case, Project based learning allows students to work as a group, create several process in order to produce the complex works. That is important to get students involve in learning. When all the students feel that they are involved in learning, it means that they also feel motivated.

2. PBL increases students’ academic achievement.

Project based learning or PBL is a kind of model in which it allows students to make a project based on several processes. That is why the process of making a project becomes the most important characteristic in doing the project. When the teachers can successfully implement project based learning, the students will get skill, knowledge and also attitude. In project based learning, the students will use their theoretical and also practical knowledge to arrange the potential solution to create a task or problems.

3. PBL increased collaboration ability.

In project-based learning, the teachers will ask the students to work together in a group. Within the group, the students will learn how to work collaboratively. In collaborative learning, the students solve the problems and investigate what they learn. The students discuss their work and share their ideas, resources, and evidence of the data. In project based learning, there is no diversity of each students. All students have the same opportunities to do a product and develop their skills using collaborative learning. Another important, by using project based learning, the students will try to stop their monotone such as only asking and answering the question, but through project based learning the activities will be more dynamic.

4. PBL increases the ability to communicate.

Project based learning requires students to make a project which is organized and they should communicate it in a team. In a team or group, the students will learn how to explain, share their idea and also convince the information. Besides, within the group, the students also learn how to advocate and listen others. Those are the important of project based learning for students. As teachers, they should know how to teach students using project based learning in order to make the class become effective

5. PBL increases students’ creativity.

Project based learning is done toward the group. In a group, each student will meet others with different skill and also learning styles. The different skill and learning styles will create a lot of idea to make a project. When the students can make the successful preparation of making a project, those different learning styles and skill will affect their creativity to make the project itself. However, as teachers, they should know that those diversities of skills and also styles will not affect students with slow learners in discrimination. The teacher must create a process in order to make a project effective for each students.

B The Disadvantages

1. Project based learning requires a lot of time.

Project based learning is characterized by the process or steps before making a product. The steps consist of starting with essential question, design the plan for project, creating a schedule, monitoring, assessment and also evaluation. Project based learning provides complex problems which relate to real world. That is why in conducting project based learning will need a lot of time.

2. Project based learning requires a lot of cost and tools.

Project based learning is one of the model of learning in which it requires tools and also cost to make a product. Example in teaching drama. The teacher can ask the students to make a drama performance at the end of the study. For that case, the teacher will ask the students to do several processes or steps in before performing the drama. Drama performance requires a lot of tools and also cost.

3. Some students may not feel interested in PBL.

Project based learning is done toward the group. Within the group, there might be some students do not have the ability to work as a team. Those will affect them to be difficult to follow the class. When they get some difficulties than they will not interested in learning. The teachers should consider the effective way in teaching using project based learning.

4. Teacher needs more control

In project based learning, the students create the steps and also process in order to make a project. The flow of the information or the result really depends on the students understanding. That is why the teachers usually think how to guide and control them in effective way.

5. Conclusion

From the above explanation can be concluded that project based learning is a method of learning in which it is really potential used to improve students speaking ability. There are several steps how to implement project based learning in the classroom such as start with essential question, design the plan project, schedule, Monitor the students and the progress of the project, asses and evaluation. Project based learning has several advantages and also disadvantages. Those advantages can be used by the teacher as the start of learning, while the disadvantages, the teacher may create the appropriate solution to solve it.

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