Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Proof Is In The Pudding, The Planning and The Learning

Potential criticisms that may occur in implementing a Project Based Learning project might be that many may wonder whether project-based approaches can fit into an already packed curriculum and can successfully address national, state, and district standards.  Others may not understand and question how learning is somewhat dependent upon specific students, classroom and community in which the learning takes place and may wonder why your classroom activity looks unorganized and extremely active.
Addressing criticisms of PBL with excitement and enthusiasm is helpful, but giving critics data driven information should be the route to address criticism.   This data is also the rationale of why PBL involves effective instructional strategies that I will be implementing in my classroom next year.  
When addressing standards, the curriculum is just a tool for content and activities designed to meet standards. A well planned and carefully designed PBL project can meet the determined grade-level standards.  Teachers using PBL design and approaches correctly will make these projects meaningful and personal to the students.  There are connections created between project-based approaches and the world outside the walls of the classroom.  There are connections between the projects and other school lessons that integrate many other standards.  Classroom PBL design includes model listening and full group attention.  Effective approaches in collaboration requires the classroom teacher to model, support and carefully coordinate student’s collaborative groups.  These teachers incorporate the use of effective feedback and assessment for students and provide students will multiple opportunities to revise and reflect on their learning and work.  This produces significant learning gains.  Findings indicate that PBL, was superior in long-term retention, skill development and satisfaction of students and teachers.  The element of choice provides the engagement and the feedback promotes the learning.

   Duke, N. K., Brugar, K. A., Halvorsen, A.-L., Block, M. K., Strachan, S. L., Berka, M. B., & Brown, J. M. (October 22, 2012). Narrowing the achievement gap in second-grade social studies and content area literacy: The promise of a project-based approach. Theory and Research in Social Education, 40, 3, 198-229.
   Katz, L., & Chard, S. C. (Eds.). (2000). Engaging children's minds: The project approach. Stamford, CT: Ablex Publishing Corporation.