Project-based learning (PBL) is becoming more and more popular in schools worldwide, and is seen as more effective than traditional classroom learning.
It is being adopted by schools who are embracing 21st century teaching methods because project-based learning helps develop skills in children that are useful for their futures, including critical thinking, problem-solving, project management and collaborative thinking.
Instead of traditional classroom learning such as memorisation and standardised testing, educators argue that project-based learning in schools is more aligned with the “real world”, helping students prepare for a future rife with new technologies.
Real-world problems, collaboration, and a goal in mind are all key ingredients for project-based learning. https://t.co/AcyanqFFcK
— edutopia (@edutopia) May 3, 2019
Plus, PBL helps students gain self-confidence as they’re typically required to use their voices and express themselves while working on a project.
It’s also a rewarding experience for them as they feel a sense of accomplishment when they finish a project.
Besides these benefits, PBL also keeps students engaged as they are not forced to sit still, but encouraged to be active and communicate among their peers as they work on a particular project.
What teachers gain from project-based learning in schools
Project-based learning is good for teachers as it can help prevent teacher burnout – a very real condition that affects teachers all over the world.
Heather Buskirk, a teacher and instructional methods adviser, writes for RealClearEducation, “Throughout my teaching career, I found the daily challenge of reaching my kids to be hugely complex and stimulating. However, when it came to my traditional approach to instruction, it didn’t take long until no one was more bored by my lectures and tired of my jokes than me.”
The repetitive nature of traditional classroom learning can demotivate teachers and lead to stress and exhaustion as they struggle to make learning more exciting.
As project-based learning is limitless and innovative, sparking the imagination of students and teachers alike, teachers can avoid falling into a rut. Project-based learning is also more student-centered, carefully steered by the teacher.
“In project based learning, the role of the teacher changes. Instead of telling what learners need to know, we ask the questions and provide resources and coaching to guide them.” – Jacob Aringo, middle school #STEAM teacher & #ExploEDU Teacher Institute mentor. #50FacesofExplo pic.twitter.com/lTdUYnde01
— Exploratorium (@exploratorium) July 31, 2019
As Burkirk writes, “Educators have historically acted as the gatekeepers of knowledge—handing over the reins even a little can be incredibly scary—but in a PBL environment, their role is still to provide oversight and guidance, while giving kids the tools and space needed to define their own learning.”
It can be more rewarding for teachers to see students take ownership over their work and watch them develop their own learning habits.
Teachers are also able to express their own creativity and encourage them to be more innovative when coming up with project concepts.
For certain students, determining whether they are developing at the same rate as their peers and acquiring the skills required can be a challenge. .
According to eLearning Industry, “Teachers are able to assess students’ capabilities to observe, survey, and investigate, then allocate the projects determining the activities and events based on their interest.
“Students find themselves capable of honing their observation and analyzing skills. Teachers can directly assess the development of these skills among their students when they perform activities of the project work.”
1st graders @RockyRiverES_NC Summer Reading Camp were #empowerED through inquiry-based learning project. Students read a ton, discussed a lot, and created together this amazingly creative natural frog habitat. So proud of them and their learning! @UCPS_MonroeNC @AGHoulihan pic.twitter.com/IM5tLSaT6w
— PecktheEducator (@pecktheeducator) July 25, 2019
In a nutshell, both students and teachers can find project-based learning rewarding, engaging and challenging.
As Burkirk writes, “When classrooms are centered on students’ interests and designed to give students some say in what and how they learn, every day holds a little more learning, surprise and excitement for all of us.”