Project technology in the formation of foreign language competence of students

UDC 378.147
Publication date: 20.02.2024
International Journal of Professional Science №2-1-2024

Project technology in the formation of foreign language competence of students

Lashina Ekaterina N.
Senior Lecturer of the Department of Foreign Languages,
St. Petersburg State University of Industrial Technology and Design.
Higher School of Technology and Energy
Abstract: The article discusses project technology, which is used in the formation of foreign language communicative competence of students when teaching a foreign language. This technology makes it possible to increase the level of internal motivation of students, the level of proficiency in language material and speaking as one of the types of speech activity, the level of development of communication skills and intercultural competence, as well as to increase the intellectual and creative potential of students, their independence, value attitude towards knowledge, interaction, future profession, expand social and communicative experience in general.
Keywords: project, project technology, foreign language, foreign language competence, educational process.

Foreign language competence, thanks to which a person enters the world of foreign language culture, acts as a humanitarian phenomenon in the professional self-determination of a university student, largely determining his competitiveness in the job market. It is an integrative educational result and is expressed in the readiness of a future specialist to use the acquired linguistic knowledge, skills and communicative experience in a professional and social environment in accordance with the requirements of the state educational standard.

Despite the variety of approaches to defining the essence of the concept itself and its structure, all researchers emphasize that the formation and development of foreign language competence seems possible only in language activity. Analyzing the structure of the concept, researchers, as a rule, in addition to necessarily highlighting professional and foreign language knowledge (cognitive component), also focus on the methods of foreign language activity, expressed in language skills (activity component).

Foreign language communicative research competence is multicomponent and combines foreign language communicative competence, intercultural competence, professional scientific competence, scientific communication competence and educational competence.

Project activity of students is a type of educational activity, the main task of which is a project method of achieving a goal through solving a specific problem under conditions of limited time and resources, which ends with a practical result in the form of a project. Project activities of students are considered as a didactic system, and the project method as an element of this system and educational technology, which provides not only the integration of knowledge, but also the use of updated knowledge and the acquisition of new ones [1].

Project technology is one of the means of developing foreign language communicative competence of students. Thus, we can define a project methodology as a purposeful, generally independent activity of students, carried out under the flexible guidance of a teacher, focused on solving a research or socially significant pragmatic problem and obtaining a specific result in the form of a material and/or ideal product.

Project activity involves the student in the learning process, and this “involvement” is considered a decisive factor in the success of a student’s learning and the development of his autonomy in the process of learning a foreign language [2].

During the learning process, teachers actively use project activities to increase motivation for learning. Students’ research work is a fruitful dialogue between student and teacher. In the process of performing project work, the student develops the ability to analyze, compare various information, and the ability to conduct dialogue in groups. The student learns to independently search for the necessary information using various sources of knowledge. The student masters valuable skills and abilities that are not developed during traditional classes [3].

The main essential characteristics of the project technology are:

− independent work of students to master knowledge and skills;

− the obligatory presence of a problem that is significant, relevant and interesting for the student, stimulates cognitive activity, directs and directs search activity, does not have a monosyllabic solution, requires analysis of different points of view and various sources, assumes a variety of research methods, application of integrated knowledge.

Among the important features of this technology used at the university, the following features can be highlighted:

− training is not limited to the acquisition by students of certain knowledge, skills and abilities, but is organized as a practical activity that affects the emotional and volitional spheres of the individual, activating his cognitive activity and subject position;

  − students get the opportunity to carry out creative work within the framework of a given topic, independently find the necessary information not only from textbooks, but also other sources of different fields of knowledge. At the same time, they learn to think independently, establish cause-and-effect relationships, find and solve problems, predict the results and possible consequences of different solution options;

− the project successfully implements various forms of organizing educational activities, during which students interact with each other, as well as with the teacher (teachers);

− in project work, the entire process is focused on the student — here, first of all, his interests, life experience, and abilities are taken into account;

  − the individual and collective responsibility of students for specific work within the project is enhanced, since everyone must present the results of their activities to the whole group;

− joint work within the framework of a project teaches students to complete a task, because in the end they must present a materialized product, namely: make a presentation, write an article, a message, collect and process statistical data, make an audio or video recording, design an album , collage, wall newspaper, etc.;

− project technology easily fits into the educational process and is combined with traditional forms of education [4].

Let us outline the essential methodological conditions underlying project-based learning as a modern pedagogical technology at the stage of creative application of language material:

  1. Active oral practice. In order to develop students’ necessary skills in one or another type of speech activity, as well as language competence at the level determined by the program, it is necessary to organize active oral practice for each student in the group.
  2. Communication tasks. To form communicative competence outside the language environment, it is not enough to saturate the lesson with conditionally communicative or communicative exercises that allow solving communicative problems. It is important to provide students with the opportunity to think, reason, solving any problems so that students focus on the content of their statement, so that the thought is in the center of attention, and the language acts in its direct function — the formation and formulation of these thoughts.
  3. Dialogue of cultures. In order for students to perceive language as a means of intercultural interaction, it is necessary not only to acquaint them with regional studies topics, but to look for ways to include them in an active dialogue of cultures, so that they can learn in practice the peculiarities of the functioning of language in a new culture for them.

The main idea of the project approach to teaching a foreign language is to shift the emphasis from various types of exercises to active mental activity to solve a problematic issue, which requires proficiency in certain linguistic means for its implementation [5].

The project technology includes several stages.

Thus, at the preparatory stage, students are asked to formulate a research problem; put forward hypotheses; determine directions for searching for information on working with hypotheses; create a project team, define the role of each group member.

The main stage of the project involves updating already known language material on the chosen topic, as well as familiarizing with new lexical units. Tasks of this stage: organize work in small groups to collect information, analyze ideas, discuss methods for testing accepted hypotheses (observation, interviews, survey, experiment); determine forms and methods of presenting project results.

At the final stage of the project, students are asked to complete the selection of information and its discussion in groups, to draw up a scenario for defending the project; format the project work (in the form of a humorous photo collage, wall newspaper, diary, magazine, interview recordings, report, etc.); defend the project, analyze the results of group project activities.

Working on a project, as a rule, contains certain difficulties for students. Thus, students are not always ready or able to carry out project activities in a foreign language, for example: conduct a discussion, discuss organizational issues, present a train of thought, etc. Language errors are also inevitable, since some of the additional information is unfamiliar to students and causes certain language difficulties. Therefore, repetition and generalization of the necessary grammatical and lexical material should precede the development of projects. It is advisable to carry out the projects themselves at the final stage of work on the topic, when the conditions have already been created for free improvisation in working with language and speech material.

In turn, the effectiveness of using project technology depends on many factors, among which the main ones include:

− students’ knowledge of the main features of various types of projects (research, creative, role-playing, gaming, etc.);

− creation by the teacher of a situation of success in the educational process as a positive stimulation of students’ language activity.

Completing project assignments and participating in a project allows students to see the practical benefits of learning a foreign language. The consequence of this is an increase in interest in the educational subject, research work, cognition as a process of updating knowledge and its conscious application in various foreign language speech situations.


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