“The best assessment of proficiency in a skill is the ability to use it and apply it to something meaningful.” -Unknown
Project Based Learning is a method of teaching that utilizes a hands-on approach to education. It allows kids to learn in all styles by encouraging use of higher order thinking skills: questioning, researching, creative problem solving, goal setting, organization, and time management. It is an opportunity for your child to learn responsibility, inquiry, research, presentation, and self-monitoring. It teaches your child how to apply their academic skills to accomplish a goal in learning.
Project Based Learning shifts students away from classroom practices of short, isolated, teacher-centered lessons and instead emphasizes learning activities that are long-term (quarterly), interdisciplinary, student centered, and integrated with real world issues and practices.
While working on projects, students are using the academic skills taught to them during the traditional part of school. They may be researching in books or on the internet, they may be planning an interview with an expert, taking notes, collaborating with another student, making a visual aid, constructing something, or writing a report.
During Project Based Learning, students are working individually or in groups to answer a ‘driving question’. They utilize research, communication, and academic skills to create a way to answer the question and predict what they learned to an audience (classmates, parents, or community).
Most importantly, in Project Based Learning students take ownership of their education which instills pride and builds self-esteem and confidence.
How Parents Can Help
Helping with projects requires asking questions that require your child to think. Your child may get frustrated and want you to just give them the answer, but don’t…use questions to guide them to answers. This is when they are using higher order thinking skills. And even if you like your ideas better, keep it to yourself and let your child pursue their own ideas.
- Why do you think you want to learn about ___?
- Who would know a lot about _______?
- How could you make that more interesting (better, more exciting, etc)?
- Why do you think that is important?
- What do you think is causing that problem?
- What are some solutions?
- Do you think that is the BEST solution?
- How can you add art (math, dance, music, science, etc) to make this more interesting?
The idea is to MENTOR your child, guide them, not do it for them. This is easier said than done, because we all want our children to present their best. Be realistic, sometimes kids just don’t give their best. It is a PROCESS in learning to value quality work, not just a quality end product.