This book is the successor to Practical Project Design, which was written to assist Beiwai Online students in learning more about communicative English language teaching through designing and testing out their own language teaching activities. Basically, it is a ¡°how-to¡± book¡ªhow to choose a topic to research, how to conduct lessons and gather data, and how to write a research report at the end of it all. Each unit represents a step in the direction of preparing to write the report that is the culmination of previous work in the Bachelor¡¯s degree program (ELTM direction).
Within each unit, I have followed a framework that echoes the previous textbook, although with many small details added. There is more dialog, so that students can follow the sort of thinking process that they will need to go through in developing their own ideas. There are more examples so that students can see what kind of ideas are mature and what kind require a bit more development. There is more explanation of the assessment guidelines so that students (and their tutors) can evaluate written work and see where changes need to be made. Suggestions for tutors have been added within each section in order to make the course easier to teach as well as study.
Another enhancement is the addition of visual cues to present both the ¡°big picture¡± and key points that demand a bit more attention. Each unit begins with a mind map that highlights the main steps in the completion of a major task. The Professor and students who supply models for working through minor and major tasks are occasionally represented by cartoons. The situations in the cartoons generally illustrate common obstacles or misunderstandings. By dealing with student problems in a humorous way, the cartoons should help tutors discuss these problems with students in a relaxed atmosphere. Additional cues are provided by icons that appear in the margins, signaling key points. Icons that will be used include:
? ¨Ca question mark signaling the questions that will be answered,
! ¨Can exclamation mark for key points,
/ -a pen showing where students should pause to complete a task, and,
@ -a blackboard, indicating a tip for tutors.
An important pattern that has been retained from the original course is the use of dialogs between Professor Guide and his students to illustrate the process of designing an experiment in teaching methodology and preparing to write about it in a research paper. These dialogs provide a model for tutors in conducting discussion sessions. Each unit begins with a discussion in which Professor Guide explains key ideas related to the current stage of project work. After the presentation, he initiates a discussion of each students¡¯ current work, leading to further questions and suggestions. Then there are one or more practice sessions, where students complete tasks related to the completion of the current assignment. Finally, the criteria used for evaluating the current assignment are explained.
The following 3 characters will be used in the book as examples of typical ELTM students:
1. Li Yue is an English teacher who has been teaching in a middle school for many years.
2. Song Qin works in the training department of a hotel.
3. Wen Jing has recently graduated from high school and tutors young students.
As mentioned previously, this textbook is the successor and thus owes a great deal to the team that came up with the concept for and wrote the first book. I am also grateful to various colleagues in Beijing who gave helpful suggestions and advice, as well as tutors who shared their challenges and ideas. A lot of inspiration came from students, since it was their questions and experiences that drove this work. It is my sincere hope that this textbook will help many students in the ELTM stream to successfully complete projects that they can take pride in.