Project Based Learning
WHAT IS PBL?
Project Based Learning (PBL) prepares students for academic, personal, and career success, and readies young people to rise to the challenges of their lives and the world they will inherit.
In Project Based Learning, teachers make learning come alive for students.
In Limerick ETSS, we provide a learning environment that equip our students for the complex world of the 21st century. We emphasise the importance of developing lifelong learning skills that will enable students to reach their full potential while at the same time preparing them to become caring and active members of a culturally diverse society.
Active, engaging teaching and learning methods are used throughout our curriculum. As well as learning individual subjects, we often integrate our curriculum so that students can study some subjects in groups, exploring how they relate to, and overlap with, each other. This enables students to develop research skills, group work skills, time management skills, digital literacy skills, presentation skills and more. Project-based learning lends itself perfectly to enabling our students to develop what we call transversal skills.
We live in a project-based world. Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging, and complex question, problem, or challenge.
Students work on a project over an extended period of time – from a week up to a term – that engages them in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question. They demonstrate their knowledge and skills by developing a public product or presentation for a real audience.
As a result, students develop deep content knowledge as well as critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills in the context of doing an authentic, meaningful project. Project Based Learning unleashes a contagious, creative energy among students and teachers.
Project Based Learning engages students in learning that is deep and long-lasting, and inspires for them a love of learning and personal connection to their academic experience.
IMPACT ON STUDENTS
PBL blends content mastery, meaningful work, and personal connection to create powerful learning experiences, in terms of both academic achievement and students’ personal growth.
PBL can be transformative for students, especially those furthest from educational opportunity. Now more than ever, we need young people who are ready, willing, and able to tackle the challenges of their lives and the world they will inherit – and nothing prepares them better than Project Based Learning.
1. Engaged hearts and minds
Students actively engage with PBL projects that provide real-world relevance for learning. Students can solve problems that are important to them and their communities.
2. Deeper Learning
PBL leads to deeper understanding and greater retention of content knowledge. Students are better able to apply what they know to new situations.
3. Exposure to adults and careers
Students interact with adults, businesses and organizations, and their community, and can develop career interests.
4. A sense of purpose
A great project can be transformative for students. Seeing a real-world impact gives them a sense of agency and purpose.
5. Success skills
Students gain skills valuable in today’s workplace and in life, such as how to take initiative, work responsibly, solve problems, collaborate in teams, and communicate ideas.
6. Rewarding teacher relationships
Teachers work closely with active, engaged students doing meaningful work, and share in the rediscovered joy of learning.
7. Creativity and technology
Students enjoy using a spectrum of technology tools from research and collaboration through product creation and presentation.
SETTING THE STANDARDS FOR PBL IN OUR SCHOOL
Student learning goals for projects include standards-based content as well as skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, self-management, project management, and collaboration.
A research-informed model for measuring, calibrating, and improving your practice.
What is Gold Standard PBL?
Student learning goals for projects include standards-based content as well as skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, self-management, project management, and collaboration. In Gold Standard PBL, projects are focused on students’ acquiring key knowledge, understanding, and success skills.
SEVEN ESSENTIAL PROJECT DESIGN ELEMENTS
A Challenging Problem or Question
The project is framed by a meaningful problem to be solved or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge.
Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of posing questions, finding resources, and applying information.
The project involves real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact, or the project speaks to personal concerns, interests, and issues in the students’ lives.
Student Voice and Choice
Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create.
Students and teachers reflect on the learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, and obstacles that arise and strategies for overcoming them.
Critique and Revision
Students give, receive, and apply feedback to improve their process and products.
Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to audiences beyond the classroom.
What is Gold Standard PBL?
When transitioning to PBL, one of the biggest hurdles for many teachers is the need to give up some degree of control over the classroom, and trust in their students. But even though they are more often the “guide on the side” than the “sage on the stage,” this most certainly does not mean that teachers don’t “teach” in a PBL classroom. Many traditional practices remain, but are reframed in the context of a project.
In Gold Standard PBL, projects are focused on students’ acquiring key knowledge, understanding, and success skills.
SEVEN PROJECT-BASED TEACHING PRACTICES
Design and Plan
Teachers create or adapt a project for their context and students, and plan its implementation from launch to culmination while allowing for some degree of student voice and choice.
Align to Standards
Teachers use standards to plan the project and make sure it addresses key knowledge and understanding from subject areas to be included.
Build the Culture
Teachers explicitly and implicitly promote student independence and growth, open-ended inquiry, team spirit, and attention to quality.
Teachers work with students to organize tasks and schedules, set checkpoints and deadlines, find and use resources, create products and make them public.
Scaffold Student Learning
Teachers employ a variety of lessons, tools, and instructional strategies to support all students in reaching project goals.
Assess Student Learning
Teachers use formative and summative assessments of knowledge, understanding, and success skills, and include self and peer assessment of team and individual work.
Engage and Coach
Teachers engage in learning and creating alongside students, and identify when they need skill-building, redirection, encouragement, and celebration.