- How is PBL different from what is happening in most of today’s classrooms?
Project Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem, or challenge. PBL is vastly different than what is happening in most of today’s classrooms. Generally speaking, the classroom setting involves rows of students who, for the majority of the day or class period, listen to their instructor as they facilitate the information. At the conclusion of the day, they are sent home with assignments to complete independently. Finally, their knowledge and understanding of the concept is assessed by their performance on weekly tests. PBL on the other hand, has motives that involve collaboration and deal with topics that are designed to replicate “real world situations.” Through this method of learning, students are encouraged to critically think, collaborate and communicate, reinforcing what they’ve learned.
- How is PBL similar to or different from what you have experienced as a student?
As a student, this method of learning is both similar and different to my personal experience in the classroom. I grew up in a traditional school system where the primary way of studying and getting an education was individualized and “lecture” style teaching was a consistent theme. With that said, I did experience some aspects of PBL when assigned to work on a group project. However, these collaborative groups happened about twice a year and were heavily guided by our teachers.
- What is your impression of PBL? What do you think would be the advantages/disadvantages of PBL for our students?
I am very impressed and intrigued by the foundation of PBL. I am interested in seeing this type of learning in action and observing the students who are involved in this type of setting. The initial advantages I anticipate with PBL would be the flexibility and creativity for the students. I would imagine the boarders in a sense have been removed in this type of environment. Critical thinking, collaborating and communicating are not only valuable but essential tools that will be utilized daily in life regardless of the profession. Thus, I think PBL is an excellent way to prepare students for situations that are expected to come their way. A few disadvantages I foresee with project based learning are some students not contributing enough in the group effort. Due to the heavy emphasis on projects, I can imagine groups need to be designed specifically to help each individual student thrive and not simply get by. Another disadvantage I anticipate would be the lack of structure in the classroom. There are advantages to both the traditional school system and the PBL approach. In my opinion, the PBL approach may provide too much flexibility for the students. If there is a solution to being more geared towards projects but remaining consistent in structure, I believe students would have the opportunity to flourish and reach their potential.