Tracing the Growth of a Community of Practice Centered on Holistic Project-Based Learning in Communication at an Engineering University in the United Arab Emirates: Insights From a Socially-Situated Teacher Cognition Perspective

Keywords: project-based learning, language teacher cognition, cultural-historical activity theory, qualitative case study, undergraduate engineers, communication courses, Middle East

Abstract

A holistic project-based learning approach can be used to support the development of teamwork, critical thinking, communication and research skills in undergraduate engineers in international contexts where English is a lingua franca. However, in many contexts, this approach might remain an under-exploited option. Our qualitative case study focused on one community of practice within the communication department of an engineering university in the Middle East that appears to have embraced project-based learning. Drawing on cultural-historical activity theory, we concentrated on gaining a deeper understanding of how this community of practice has developed and been sustained. From a socially-situated language teacher cognition research perspective, we analyzed experiences, beliefs and practices of communication department faculty regarding project-based learning. Our rich, descriptive account may be of interest to academics interested in encouraging project-based learning elsewhere.

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Author Biographies

Mark Wyatt, Khalifa University

Mark WYATT is associate professor of English at Khalifa University in the UAE. His research interests include language teacher cognition, teachers' self-efficacy beliefs, practitioner research and in-service language teacher development, and he has published widely in these areas. He co-edits ELT Research.

Roger Nunn, American University of Sharjah

Roger NUNN is professor and head of department in the Department of Writing Studies at the American University of Sharjah in the UAE. He is interested in innovative holistic approaches to developing academic literacy, and he edits the Asian ESP Journal.

Published
2019-05-25
How to Cite
Wyatt, M., & Nunn, R. (2019). Tracing the Growth of a Community of Practice Centered on Holistic Project-Based Learning in Communication at an Engineering University in the United Arab Emirates: Insights From a Socially-Situated Teacher Cognition Perspective. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 20(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-20.2.3170