Project Based Learning is a type of teaching were the student or class will spend a given duration of time (generally a long period) on a project to help gain knowledge and skills in answering a difficult problem or question. It involves the students being active and hands on during their learning. This method incorporates more action and doing form the students. The problems or questions that are associated with PBL is that of real world scenarios and problems.
This method is important, because it involves the students more directly in their learning in a more active way. In doing so, it helps stimulate and engage the student to a whole new level. Since, the students are more active in their learning, they will be able to obtain and store greater essential information, compared to a passive learning method.
In a classroom with more PBL, students will begin to see the connections that the teacher is trying to illustrate. A classroom like this, is going to sound much different than conventional classes. It is going to have more student collaboration and peer discussion. Compared to a monotone instructor lecturing in the same format.
Students are going to be doing a wide range of tasks when in this methodological classroom. Some students might be researching while others are developing or drawing up plans to tackle the problem. The levels of where students can be will vary from class to class and project to project. Since, this is the student’s project, this would be a more self-paced type of learning. However, the teacher would have to be there as a resource, motivator, and/or stimulus for the students to progress.
The organization and layout of a classroom that uses PBL is going to be slightly different than what many individuals may conceive. Instead of simply having rows or desk facing the front, their desks may be conjoined facing one another. Doing so, will help stimulate collaboration and interaction between students. For an example, if the students are working in groups, the teacher could assign seats where each group is all located together. Also, the layout of the classroom may have designated work stations for various tasks. For example, a teacher might setup an area for computers, so the students can come and do their online research for their project. Another example, would be if the students were making some sort of poster or physical visual aid, the teacher could have a station for arts and crafts. Regardless, a teacher must be extremely organized in their classroom for a PBL to be successful.
With the type of learning method, a classroom isn’t going to spend the same amount of time lecturing as must others. They are going to have some introductory type lecturing and learning, followed by brief interjections of lecturing/instructing throughout the learning process. The overall time lecturing to the entire class will drastically decrease. Since, PBL can be taught more for self-paced learners, the teacher may be having to do several things at once. They may be going over ideas/strategies with one student and then revisions with another. The time spent with each student is going to have to be more direct and one-on-one.
A teacher doesn’t and shouldn’t solely use this learning method. This is simply another tool and resource to have at their disposal. That being said, a quality educator would use PBL to help differentiate their instructing and to help students gain vital skills and information of essential ideas and information.
There are many advantages to using PBL. This method helps the student grasp more concretely the key information that they might pass over using other learning methods. Besides engaging the students more directly, it helps actively build success in solving complex real world problems. Another great thing about PBL is that students have to take control and be in charge of their own learning. This isn’t just beneficial for the students, but for the teacher as well. This method can make teaching the curriculum more fun. Also, it allows the intrinsic reward component to increase as the teacher can physically see their students learning and growing. While, there are many advantages there are some disadvantages to consider. A teacher is going to have to put in a lot more time and effort into their teaching. Also, the teacher is also going to feel at times like they are being spread too thin. It also makes assessing the students and their work much more difficult. Overall, the PBL method is a great tool for any teacher to use in a differentiated classroom curriculum.
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