With or without technology, raising student's awareness of their own ability to promote their learning is never a difficult job. There are many approaches that reverse the students and the teacher’s roles inside the classroom. One of which is the PBL approach.

The Theory

To apply this approach there are 5 main steps that you will need to follow but not always in the same order.

1-Ask the right question: this should start lots of brainstorming among students. For example, “How can you guys use these flip charts for learning all through this term?"

2- Show them samples of a previous class work: this should help them borrow, modify, or generate other ideas

3-Divide into groups: let students choose their own team, they know their own dynamics.

4-Divide the project into several steps: whether they choose one project or several they still need to assign tasks for each individual.

5-Timing: BL is best practiced inside the classroom or some of the steps at least.

Either way have students allocate specific timing for each stage. This approach does not only encourage learner autonomy as the teacher’s role changes to be a guide- in-need but also helps students with talents discovering, learning styles, critical thinking, team building skills, decision making and provides a natural request for functional language such as, negotiating, asking for permission, etc.

The experiments:

(case study 1)

A class of 18 girls aged between 19-21, Faculty of Sharia and law, Al azhar university. The have studied at Al azhar institutes. It is their 4th year at Al azhar English training center. Never been exposed to the idea of having projects inside or outside the classroom. So the steps have been altered a bit.

1-Show them samples: a scrap book that has been a last session activity with 9 gentlemen last academic year.


2-Ask the right question: Once they have seen and analyzed the sample, they have started generating ideas, in this case my question was: well, that’s what the boys did, do you think you can do better?

3-Divide into groups: The girls chose to have two teams, each with a different project. Yet both are related to the units studied at their curriculum.


G1: They created a miniature that covered two units that they studied in-class.:


G2: They designed a review book that covered another two units that they had studied in- class.

In this case, my role shifted from being a teacher to be a guide and a material supplier.


Case study 2

A class of 10 gentlemen aged between 18-20 years, Students of Sharia and law English. They have been studying at Al-azhar English training center, Al-azhar University for 3 years.


1-The right question/task: “in celebration of the international women’s day, can you design a poster around a female leading role model”

2-Show them some samples: In their case, since it was also their first time to be exposed to the idea of projects, a session around how to design a poster was delivered.

3-4 Divide into group/assign tasks: they divided the task around themselves as they knew who among them likes drawing, who like to search the internet, and who is DIY man.

5-Timing: due to the fact that this class was a 2 hour-class and the task was not related to the curriculum; they have chosen to meet 5 times before the class starts

Here is the product:


In this case, my role as a teacher was limited to the orientation session of how to design a poster and a material supplier.


The materials used in both cases were: flip chart, carton, glittered foam, colored papers/pens.




in-deed, these five main steps are useful to learners in every where in the world, I read them several times to deeply understand their significance. I compared several subjects which took before in accordance with The Five Main steps with those do not and I can feel the difference.

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