Pakistani undergraduate students’ perceptions of project-based learning in the English composition course

Sameera Sultan (FAST-National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, Islamabad, Pakistan)
Syeda Tuba Javaid (Iqra University, Karachi, Pakistan)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Publication date: 2 July 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how BS first-year students of the computer science department at a private university in Karachi perceive project-based learning (PjBL) implemented in the English composition course. The more specific objectives were to bring to light the benefits and challenges associated with PjBL from the students’ standpoint. Research works on students’ perceptions of project-based learning particularly in English language teaching remains an underresearched area in Pakistan and this makes this study useful and essential.

Design/methodology/approach

Adopting the lens of constructionism, this study used the qualitative approach for investigation. Thus, to achieve an in-depth insight into students’ perceptions, they were provided an opportunity to reflect and freely report their views regarding the project approach. The participants in this study formulate perceptions about a given phenomenon based on a thoughtful analysis of their experiences with that phenomenon. The qualitative researcher aims to get a deep understanding of these views of the participants, and so this study employed accounts and drawings as data collection tools. The data were then content analyzed.

Findings

Upon data analysis, two major themes emerged being the benefits and challenges associated with PjBL. The benefits can be further divided into academic and non-academic benefits. The major academic benefit was that the project approach allowed students to achieve a deeper and more meaningful understanding of the subject matter whereas the non-academic benefits include enhanced communication and negotiation skills, time management, creative and critical thinking skills. The major challenges faced by the students were related to time management and getting along with each other in groups.

Originality/value

The research problem is a scarcely explored area in Pakistani English language teaching in higher education. Moreover, the use of student drawings as a data collection method is an unusual method for this research problem.

Keywords

Citation

Sameera Sultan and Syeda Tuba Javaid (2018) "Pakistani undergraduate students’ perceptions of project-based learning in the English composition course", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 217-229

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DOI

: https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-11-2017-0135

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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