According to bie.org project-based learning, or PBL, 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.” In other words, it is when students engage in a project, which may be lengthy, to answer a question, or multiple questions. This is usually used by teachers that want students to use a strategy of learning and/or problem solving that is personalized to them.
The teacher gives the students a question, as stated above, and lets the students work together or individually to find an answer to the question. As the students work together to solve this problem given to them the teacher is not just supposed to let them go and wait until the students have finished their work. The teacher is to guide the students’ way of thinking and learning. The teacher is to make sure the students stay on track with their work and to ensure they are working in the right direction.
If the students work in groups the classroom can get very hectic and noisy with this approach. It takes a lot of verbal communication for this project, and that is the idea for it. The students can talk and share ideas with one another to find the most productive strategy to solve the question, problem, or whatever situation may be at hand. Now, the other negativity to this is student participation.
When it comes to discussions some students may find it difficult to talk to their peers. A lot of the times it is the quiet students who have the most thoughts and excellent ideas; however, they are never able to be shared. On the flip side, there may be some students who try to take control and spill their ideas onto everyone else, regardless of what anyone else has to say. To fix this it is the teacher’s job to recognize this and make sure all students get to share their ideas.
Time in the classroom is vary valuable, as all teachers know. Project-based learning can cause the speed of the classroom to slow down, which is both positive and negative. It is a positive because the students have the chance to go at their own pace, given the amount of time they have to complete the project. The negative side to this is that the teacher can get behind with the material that must be covered. If I were to use PBL in my classroom it would be when the students are ahead of schedule with the material so that they aren’t rushed to catch up as soon as the project is completed.
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