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Project-Based Learning: An Effective Teaching Approach

Every good teacher imparts knowledge and skills to his students. This is usually done by talking at the students and ensuring they understand. This in itself is a speedy and easy approach but might not necessarily be most effective method.

Over the years, it has been observed that students tend to remember topics or skills they practiced or were involved in while learning. This is due to the fact that they were able to relate with such topics or skills at the time. Yet, only few teachers have been found doing this. These are the ones we call great teachers because they don’t just teach! Someone might say “That does not make sense; why will a teacher not teach?” The answer is there are times when direct instruction is necessary, but only to be able to do something with that knowledge or skill. A great teacher will always engage the students such that their learning becomes project- based. With this approach, students do not just listen, observe and doze off while the teacher talks, rather they learn skills or knowledge with the understanding that they have a critical reason to, as they have to show all they have learned by what they can do.
In traditional classrooms, it has been observed that students tend to become bored when they are not engaged while learning, even the so – called brilliant ones. The big issue with this is that they are less likely to learn in this state. Research has shown that students in project-based learning classrooms get higher scores than students in traditional classrooms. This is apparently traceable to the state of their minds while learning. Project-based learning allows students to learn by exploring, practicing and applying ideas. In this state, they are in control of their learning, allowing the skills and knowledge they learn to become a part of them even after several years, rather than irrelevant and unreal.

Observations have also shown that asides from performing better in school, the creative, innovative and collaborative skills of students in project- based learning classrooms improve drastically. This is due to the fact that such a classroom allows students investigate questions, offer propositions and explanations, collaborate to discuss their ideas. It is therefore important that all teachers around the world begin to consider taking up this approach of teaching in order to produce not just “schooled persons” but skilled and knowledgeable persons who are able ask questions, challenge traditional and ineffective ways of performing tasks and develop innovative ways of tackling the challenges of the society at large.

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