To some, Project-Based Learning (PBL) seems like a daunting concept. This is explicable too, considering the prevailing perception in the teaching community that PBL is only relevant to a certain brand of teachers. However, this perception is far from reality, because the truth is, any educator can use PBL with his or her students.
Before dwelling into how PBL can be used as a pedagogical approach that facilitates students in becoming creative learners let’s start by scratching the surface to understand how it can be used as tool to transform the roles of teachers in the 21st-century classrooms
“Project-based learning is a dynamic teaching approach which promotes student engagement and problem-solving while making creativity the norm.”
PBL transforms the roles of teachers as well as students in more than one way by transforming the role of learners as more than mere information recipients who aren’t invested in the learning process to metaphorical workers who possess self-management skills. As a teacher it allows you to design the kind of learning that mentally and creatively challenges the students.
PBL redefines the role of students as creators and that of teachers as mentors. It allows teachers to devise an inquiry-based curriculum, confer with students, structure the learning, help learners in generating ideas and offer feedback which results in teaching that rises above dates and facts. Adopting the PBL approach in classrooms can enliven the learning environment, strengthen the curriculum and ignite the students’ desire to discover, examine, and appreciate the world that surrounds them.
In the fast-paced, constantly evolving world of teaching and learning, project-based teaching is an overarching framework that undertakes new initiatives and strategies for the curriculum. Considering teaching is a project-based occupation itself, most teachers would say that they are already doing projects every day as part of their instruction. All that is left is to hone their skills for this new learning model.
Project-based teaching requires a different way of thinking and skill set, however, if done well it works for both instructors as well as learners. Teachers find the project based learning approach to be more worthwhile and enjoyable than conventional textbook approach. It produces considerable improvement in student attendance, classroom engagement, and overall performance of the students, not only that, it also improves higher-order thinking skills and reaches a wide array of learners.
The PBL approach may seem like an emotional roller coaster to both novice as well as experienced teachers. However, when the instructors ultimately take the plunge to go down the rabbit hole, what they get in the end is a transformed classroom with the quintessential 21st-century learning.