An encouraging new report describes preliminary, first-year outcomes from a study of 3,000 middle school students that shows kids can, in fact, learn more in science classrooms that adopt a well-designed, project-focused curriculum.
Project-based learning continues to be misinterpreted as a single teaching strategy rather than as a set of design principles that allow us to introduce the philosophy of inquiry into education in an intelligent and grounded way. It’s time to not only address the flaws in PBL, but to reinvent it in a way that leads to deeper learning, creative inquiry, and a better fit with a collaborative world in which doing and knowing are one thing.
If an inquiry-based system is to succeed, we’ll need really good human beings in the classroom who know their field, but who also radiate the kind of positive, non-judgmental love that helps students open their minds and hearts.
When students engage in quality projects, they develop knowledge, skills, and dispositions that serve them in the moment and in the long term. There are several ways to start designing projects. Here are six steps that will help you get started.
As education continues the march toward a student-driven, project-oriented approach that values intelligent solutions to open-ended problems, it won’t be sufficient to focus on the wonderful discoveries and authentic work that result from an inquiry-based system. Instead, a far more difficult issue will come to the fore: How will we know if inquiry-based learning is successful, and what non-standardized measures of achievement, like better attitude, apply?