What Exactly is Project Based Learning?

Project Based Learning (PBL) is an exciting and dynamic approach to education. It frames curriculum into a structure that is engaging, interesting and exciting for children. In a classroom where project based learning is used, children are actively engaged. Project Based Learning invites the student to be an active participant in the design and implementation of learning. So for example, if a class is learning about say… explorers after the class has read, discussed and learned historical information about explorers, the teacher might then invite the students to choose an explorer to learn more about.

Each child would then select an explorer and decide how to best portray and depict that explorer. The student will research independently and come up with a way to communicate the knowledge he or she has acquired to the rest of the class. Perhaps, the child will dress up as the explorer and act as if she really was Christopher Columbus or Ponce de Leon. Maybe the class will decide they want to put together a play about explorers or a presentation to do in front of the school. Project based learning allows the children to actively determine how the project is carried out and even assessed. When children are so actively involved in their own learning process, they get excited and engaged and want to learn more. They become the experts and that is both exciting as well as empowering. Knowledge creates self esteem.

According to the George Lucas Education Foundation (GLEF), a proponent for this type of education, project based learning “is not just a way of learning but a way of working together. If students learn to take responsibility for their own learning, they will form the basis for the way they will work with others in their adult life.”

Academic research supports project based learning in schools as well. It shows that schools that incorporate project based learning have less absenteeism, they see an improvement in cooperative learning skills, and increases in student achievement.

To learn more about project based learning, visit Eutopia.org

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