If asked, most children who have difficulty in school will cite the reason for this struggle as an inability to focus and retain the information they have been taught. This is because a large portion of the population, adults and children alike, are kinesthetic learners. This means that people learn by doing, by taking a hands-on approach which helps them retain information and focus on the subject matter in question. Teachers are now rising to the challenge of creating a rewarding learning experience for their students by incorporating project based learning as a part of the teaching curriculum.
Teaching has always adopted the style of a teacher standing in front of the classroom and giving a lecture based on the given textbook for that course. This is typically reinforced by said teacher writing occasional important facts on a white board. Once the teacher feels he/she has lectured enough, there will be a test on the information taught thus far. The problem with this approach is most students find listening to a lecture for hours on end quite boring. When we are bored our minds tend to wander, and when our minds wander we are not taking in information and we are not learning. Edutopia writes “The big challenge facing education today, it seems, isn’t figuring out how we learn. It’s having the courage to “make learning a constant adventure,” says JSB.” This is not to say that lecture and textbooks have become obsolete, they absolutely still have a place in the classroom, but in addition, teachers must concentrate on project based learning to inspire students to learn.
Think back to when you were in school. Most of us don’t remember the lectures, books or test. Instead we remember that class trip to the museum or space camp. We remember the projects we created with our own two hands, and it is more than likely, we remember the subjects we were taught from these projects.
Project-based learning combine’s visual, listening, and doing as tools to help students remain interested and remember information. It can be used in all topics from math to language arts. Teachers can devise projects like treasure hunts or science projects where students study samples under a microscope. Trips outside the classroom are excellent ways to get students excited about learning. Writing their own stories or building their own pyramids as a way to decipher how it was done, can engage students and keep them excited about going to class every day.
Teachers can help their students by:
The teacher who knows how to combine lecturing with projects is the teacher who will have a classroom that is full of students who are excited to attend class and who will retain the information taught throughout the rest of their lives. More and more teachers are realizing the importance of a project based learning environment which is conducive to producing an educated and productive population that is focused and driven to succeed.