New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Learning Through Tasks: A Better World is Possible

Raúl Ruiz-Cecilia, University of Granada (Spain)

Juan Ramón Guijarro Ojeda, University of Granada (Spain)


Learning through tasks has emerged in the last decades as the panacea in teaching mainly because classroom activity is somehow reinvented and provided with a sense of realism. Students are exposed to the world out there, fulfilling in class tasks they may face in their lives as adults. Thus, recalling constructivism tenets, students are the main agents and the process is as important as the product. Therefore, the task we have implemented in our educational context combines all these elements. It was designed for a European funded project (PETALL -530863-LLP-1-2012-1-NL-KA2-KA2MP) is entitled “NGOs: A better world… is possible”. The main goals were: to develop and encourage students to think critically about social movements around them; to become familiar with the variety of ways in which NGOs work to bring about sustainable change in developing countries and their own community; to give the student the opportunity to show their talents and creativity; to develop language competences using ICT resources. In order to put this into practice, we organized all the information in a webquest (that is, an inquiry-oriented lesson using the Internet). This is reachable on the link and follows the standard division: i.e., introduction, task, process, evaluation, and conclusion. The ‘introduction’ presents the general goal of the activity as to make students understand from the very beginning why they are addressing the topic of NGOs in the language class. As it reads on the webquest itself:

The goal of this webquest is to learn more about NGOs and volunteers work in your town or city. Students will explore the different NGOs in their community and will become experts on NGOs and …maybe they will go further and will get involved in one of them…

The ‘task’ explains thoroughly what students are expected to produce, namely, “a Slide Presentation about a Non-Governmental Organization located in your town or city”. The achievement of the task entails the fulfilment of four steps: getting into groups of four; assigning roles to each member of the group and gathering as much information as possible on different areas (organization, problems, projects, volunteer work); sharing, selecting and organizing information, and preparing a digital-slide presentation; presenting the final version to their classmates. Finally, students are encouraged to invite a volunteer from the NGO they have researched about to their oral presentation. This may be very motivating and rewarding for them.

In the ‘evaluation’ section, students are provided with a rubric indicating how their slide presentation and their speaking skills will be assessed.

The ‘conclusion’ works as a motivation booster, keeping students engaged and involved in NGOs, and ultimately, in the target language.


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