Project Based Learning: How to Apply this teaching method?
Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge.
Time and again studies have shown that students are likely to retain their knowledge for a longer period of time if they have worked on a related project. The biggest mistake people make is not giving themselves and students the time to see how the technique develops. Some people assume that because the first project didn't go very well, project-based learning isn't a good way to teach. You need to be persistent and learn from every project experience. It takes multiple projects to find your niche in this instructional method.
How to start?
Take History for example. Most classes are taught by getting in front of the class and tell it like it is from the book, with dates and everything. But that approach fails to engage students.
Give them something to care about
The first step to consider is how you can bring historical concepts back to life. This can be quite tricky on occasion, as many events are long gone and the only thing they’ve got to look at is history books and similar material which, though factual, are frequently neither engaging nor emotional.
Choose a topic where you can bring items, people or demonstrations into the classroom. If possible, go on field trips to show them landmarks and/or actual items from the experience in museums, etc. Use historical dramas and television shows to let students see that back then people were people too, with feelings, fashion sense and desires.
Let them choose
Have several different projects that are geared towards different activities. So if the class is exploring the First World War, consider having a project about technology, one about medicine, one about living conditions and another about the rest of the people while the men of the families were away fighting. Get them interested about the lives of the people.
The Skills required
The projects will take certain skills, you have to make sure that students actually have those skills necessary to complete the projects. This often will mean research skills and writing skills, but can be a far wider range of skills depending on which project they choose, including performance skills, speaking skills and even handicraft.
Show it to everyone!
You can have a presentation or a poster, but try to think out of the box. Something new will engage more students. And finally make certain other people but their classmates get to see it, so that they become invested in actually producing something of value. Then, consider having another class come in and the two groups present and critique each other.
The trick to PBL is that it allows students to not just learn the material but learn vital life skills as well, while engaging them and making the classes fun. Often history classes can benefit immensely from this approach.
This article is inspired by and contains excerpts from Teacher Cast website. Read the original article here.