Encouraging students’ creativity, agency and community engagement through project-based learning: the “I am an author” project (John Hajek & Riccardo Amorati, The University of Melbourne, Australia)
John Hajek & Riccardo Amorati, The University of Melbourne, Australia
Title: Encouraging students’ creativity, agency and community engagement through project-based learning: the “I am an author” project
Keywords: language learning; project-based learning; creativity-based learning
Project-based learning is a student-centred approach which has been found to be particularly effective for developing transferable skills, for fostering autonomous learning as well as for enhancing students’ motivations, engagement, creativity and communicative skills (Du and Han 2016; Stoller, 2006). In this paper, we present the results of a mixed-method study aimed at investigating the effectiveness of an innovative project-based work-integrated learning module, entitled ‘I am an author’ in an L2 Italian course setting. As part of this module, advanced learners of Italian are exposed to a variety of writing genres of interest to young readers and are then required to write and self-publish in hard-copy a short, fully illustrated, children’s story in Italian. In doing so, the project has the purposes of (a) stimulating agency through a type of Work-Integrated Learning (WIL), with students acting as writers and editors while engaging in direct experiential learning; and (b) supporting the local Italian community by providing free literacy resources for language maintenance. We examine whether the project has a direct positive effect on students’ learning, motivation and sense of self-efficacy and creativity and also offer an insight into how this learning module can be improved in the future, in an attempt to provide suggestions for curricular implementations for advanced language subjects at tertiary level.