Schools programs are full of projects and initiatives that aim at teaching in a more innovative and involving way to our students. Most of the time, though, it just becomes tiring extra work for the teachers and impersonal activities that students don’t even enjoy.
How can we implement projects in a way that is fun and motivating for students, and at the same time efficient for the teachers?
Quite spontaneously, they quickly came to the realization that PBL is not like doing any regular project, but rather a defined teaching approach with its own rules and methods. And from there, we started to break down the preparation of a PBL project into different phases:
1. Preparation of the class for Project Based Learning. Through self-reflection and confrontation, our teachers understood the importance of equipping their students with the right skills and attitude to approach PBL, mainly curiosity, critical thinking, inquiring and mostly collaborating with one another.
2. Defining Learning Outcomes and “Backward Designing”. One of the critical aspect of PBL is that it should be rooted in the curriculum, and not simply be “extra work” to carry out at the end of the unit. Our group had the chance to practice some tools that would help them plan the project in a way that it would cover also the curriculum and don’t remain behind with each subject program.
3. Creation of the Driving Question and project details. One of the characteristic elements of PBL is the presence of the so called “Driving Question”, the catalysis of the students’ learning. In the attempt to find a solution to the challenge/problem posed in the driving question, students conduct research and inquiry that would lead them to encounter and learn the major key points of the disciplines involved.
5. ICT tools in support of Project Based Learning. In the development of a PBL project, one can hardly think to go without the help of the new technologies. Our participants had the possibility to practice first-hand some of the tools that are essential in supporting the smooth and efficient implementation of the PBL in the class.
This final outcome encouraged a great sense of achievement… and a personal vow to give the project a try when back in their classes!
More info on the course “Introducing Project Based Learning in the classroom” at this link: https://www.erasmustrainingcourses.com/project-based-learning.html