Friday, 21 March 2014

Project-Based Learning (PBL)

I have students reporting to me that they are now participating in project-based learning (PBL) in their classrooms.  This is great news because it indicates a teacher who is aware of and who is, hopefully, embracing important elements of the Common Core Standards.  Students are learning while doing.  They are researching the information they need as they need it.  As-needed learning has been shown to be more meaningful, motivational and lasting than traditional lecture and book learning, in which information must be retained in case it is needed.

Foundation skills are still critical (yes, you must memorize your math facts and grammar rules).  In addition to foundation skills, with PBL, students must now also focus on research skills, data analysis, information synthesis, presentation skills, practical application of information and creative new ideas.  These are the skills of their future jobs.  Students are also learning to work together.  

The global workforce will require people to work on projects together from all parts of the world.  Students will need to be patient and respectful, develop listening skills, communicate clearly and manage their own emotions.  These "people skills" will be just as critical, if not more so, than the hard skills.   PBL in the classroom can help students practice these people skills through communication, cooperation, and collaboration, as they  work together on group projects.  Watch for more on social and emotional learning (SEL) in following articles from Pinecone Learning.

Next, What is SEL?