Thursday, February 4, 2010

Project vs. Traditional Learning

Building racecars. Studying worms. Designing high school buildings. Examining oral reef ecosystems. Investigating cystic fibrosis. Field trips. Each of these items are an example of techniques used by teachers who believe in project based learning. The purpose of this style is to put students at the center of the learning process. The video, Project Learning: An Overview gives additional information on this increasingly popular teaching style.

My most significant thought after watching this video was how the idea of incorporating projects into teaching is so broad. Teachers have countless options on how to present a certain concept to their students. There are so many opportunities to present these concepts in the form of projects and hands-on learning activities. It may take a little extra effort and creativity, but this teaching style can certainly be integrated.
When I think back on different concepts taught to me, I remember things I was actively involved in much more vividly. From a class several semesters ago, I can remember the different "theories of leadership." I attribute this recollection to the fact that we learned this information by presenting it to the class through skits, activities, and games that helped us teach each theory. Even in high school, I significantly remember concepts taught through projects more rather than traditional lecture presentation-for example physics experiments on light, speed, and air; presenting english literature in the form of plays; and making miniature quilts in geometry class.
As a future Family and Consumer Sciences teacher, most of my assignments will indeed be more project based. I will be able to teach my students through food experiments, sewing projects, and many more hands-on activities. It may be more of a challenge for me to incorporate lecture and other traditional forms of teaching to keep things balanced within the classroom. I also may need to think about forming one larger project instead of having multiple small projects. I love that I have the opportunity to teach students through active learning!

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