The attitudes of secondary school students towards learning english through project based learning
THE ATTITUDES OF
M.YAVUZ KONCA & KÜBRA OKUMUŞ
ELT needs new methods as the old ones are inadequate in Turkey.
Reasons such as the great difference between Turkish and English,
the difficulty of learning a new language and culture cause English
teaching to be a problematic area.
PBL is one of the new techniques that engages students in
exploring important and meaningful questions through a series of
investigations and collaborations (Krajcik, Czerniak & Berger 1999)
PBL can be defined briefly as “a model that organizes learning
around projects” (Thomas, 2000, p. 1). It is built upon authentic
learning activities that care the students’ interests and motivation.
It integrates subject-matter goals with an authentic learning
environment [Eskrootchi, R. and Oskrochi, 2010].
It emphasizes improvement of critical thinking, problem solving
and constructing projects. The student is autonomous and builder
whereas the teacher is a supporter and counselor in this method.
Constructing a project is considered not as a goal but a tool for
learning, so the PBL places a great importance on the process
dimension of learning
GOAL OF THE STUDY
A teaching method that is generally used in the field of Science
and Maths is suggested to be implemented in teaching English. For
this purpose, the answers of the following questions are sought:
Is PBL an effective way of teaching English?
What are the benefits of PBL?
What are the possible problems that can be encountered while
A qualitative research was conducted in this research. McMillan and Schumacher
(1993, p. 479) defined qualitative research as, “primarily an inductive process of
organizing data into categories and identifying patterns (relationships) among
categories.” From this definition it can be inferred that qualitative research is closely
related to relationships between variables. In this study, the correlation among the
attitudes and the three variables: gender, age, class is sought.
Since this study intends to describe the attitudes of students towards project-
based learning, survey was used for this aim.
Participants were the seventh and eighth grade students aging 12
and 15 years of a public school in Turkey. 100 students were chosen
for the survey. As the aim is to describe the attitudes of secondary
school students, a public secondary school students were selected for
the study. Hence purposive sampling was used.
A Lickert scale questionnaire was used to determine the attitudes of the
students towards teaching English through Project-based learning. The
questionnaire consists of twenty questions. Each has 5 items which are “I strongly
disagree”, “I disagree”, “neutral”, “I agree” and “I strongly agree”. Questions like
whether they learn through project-based learning and whether they like group
works that are the important parts of the PBL were asked to develop an overall
opinion about the students’ attitudes towards PBL.
Aritmetic average and standard deviation were used to analyze the
data. t test was used to find out whether there were differences
between answers in terms of classroom and gender. One way analysis
of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine the differences in terms
of age. LSD Post Hoc was used in order to understand which age
group had differences for the items 3 and 18 of the questionnaire.
RESULTS AND ANALYSIS
In the survey, the response “I strongly agree” was given to items titled "Project-
based learning helped me to learn a topic I did not know.", "It was fun to work with my friends.",
"Project-based learning increased our desire to learn", "Project-based learning made us learn by
investigating.", " Project-based learning taught us to make use of knowledge.", "project-based
learning can help us to learn important topics. "," project-based learning can develop my
interpersonal relations." And " I believe that Project-based learning will develop my creative
thinking skills.", " I think project-based learning will contribute to our work through
cooperation." " project-based learning can accelerate my learning.", and " I want my future courses
to continue with project-based learning."
In the survey, the response “I agree” was given to items titled
"Project-based learning, developed my communication skills.", "All members of
the group were active in the learning phase.", "We studied so hard.", " Project-
based learning can develop my analytical thinking skills.", "Project-based
learning can improve my communication skills." "Project-based learning can
develop my group discussion skills.", and "I believe that project-based learning
will improve my ability of problem-solving."
the response “I disagree” was given to items titled "I was unlucky
because of working with those who disliked making research." and "I do not like
F i n d i n g s a n d r e v i e w r e g a r d i n g r e s p o n s e s t o t h e
i t e m s o n t h e s u r v e y a c c o r d i n g t o g r a d e l e v e l s o f
t h e s t u d e n t s
Whether there was any difference between the responses to the items
in the questionnaire in terms of students' grade level was analyzed using
According to the results, it may be said that the level of response of
8th year students as compared to that of 7th year students to the items
titled "Project-based learning helped me to learn a topic I did not know.",", " project-
based learning can accelerate my learning.", and "I believe that project-based learning
will improve my ability of problem-solving." was found to be more negative.
f i n d i n g s a n d r e v i e w r e g a r d i n g r e s p o n s e s t o t h e
i t e m s o n t h e s u r v e y a c c o r d i n g t o g e n d e r o f t h e
s t u d e n t s .
Whether there was any difference between the responses to the
items in the questionnaire in terms of students' gender was analyzed
using the t-test . The level of response of female students as
compared to that of male students to the items titled "Project-based
learning helped me to learn a topic I did not know.", " project-based learning can
accelerate my learning.", and "I believe that project-based learning will improve
my ability of problem-solving." was found to be more negative.
f i n d i n g s a n d r e v i e w r e g a r d i n g r e s p o n s e s t o t h e i t e m s
o n t h e s u r v e y a c c o r d i n g t o a g e o f t h e s t u d e n t s .
Whether there was any difference between the responses to the
items in the questionnaire in terms of students' age was analyzed
using the one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA)
LSD post hoc test was applied to find out between which age
groups of students there was difference in the responses given to
items titled "Project-based learning increased our desire to learn." and "
Project-based learning can accelerate my learning
As a result of LSD post hoc test the difference between the
students of 13-14 years and 12 years was found significant. The 13
and 14-year age group of students responded more negatively the
item "Project-based learning can speed up my learning." as compared
to 12-year age group.
The results of the questionnaire carried out on 100 students show
that students like PBL in English classes. The students want to learn
with group works and projects. The 12-15 years students are opinion
of that PBL will help them not only learn English but improve the
skills such as creative and analytical thinking, problem-solving,
communication and discussion. They would like to be part of active
Hence it is suggested that PBL be used in teaching English as
incorporating the essential elements of PBL which are colloboration,
critical and creative thinking, communication, problem-solving into
English language teaching process will provide learning in depth.