Hi, I am doing a PGCE(HE) this year and was required to do some action research to improve my teaching skills in the classroom. As I teach mixed-level classes I chose to trial project-based learning (PBL) in my Entry 3/Level 1 class of adult learners to discover if this is an effective teaching/learning strategy for this type of class.
For our project, we chose to compile an A3 book with each learner being responsible for one or two pages. Their aim was for each of them to address one of the questions that they are often asked by local people. This project was chosen because of the rise of hate crimes following BREXIT, as an opportunity for this class to raise awareness within the college of why they came to the UK, etc in the hope of counteracting some of the myths surrounding foreign workers.
The intended learning outcomes were, 1) to build confidence when using spoken English, 2) to use peer editing to improve writing skills and, 3) to create a book to promote internationalisation amongst local students.
Another class was also involved in providing questions, and the two classes met during a Christmas themed coffee break when they engaged in some activities together. The book was presented to the other class to read over the next couple of weeks and to leave some feedback on the final page. The book is to be returned to us next week and we are looking forward to reading their feedback. Following that it will be placed in the college library and all staff and students will be invited to view it.
Not having used PBL as a teaching/learning strategy before I was expecting the learners to be somewhat resistant to the idea of using class time to do a project. However, I found that they entered into it enthusiastically and it created a real “buzz” in the classroom, probably due to the relevance of the topic and their enjoyment of group work.
The first two ILOs fitted very well within their curriculum and both the learners and I felt they achieved these very well. However, more thought needs to be given to the assessment of any PBL I deliver in the future. I would be very interested in hearing about the experience others have had of PBL and any tips or advice that you can give me for the future, especially regarding assessment.
20 March, 2017 at 21:40
Total posts: 1
Projects based-learning and assessment is interesting and has valid applications but it also neglects the need for strong critical thinking skills. I’ve taught in high schools in Brooklyn, and I currently teach Americans who study abroad in Australia as well as ESL support agents and writers with http://ultius.pro/ . A majority of them are unable to think critically, to analyze, to assess, and to engage with complex ideas.
The work environment of the 21st century requires these skill sets. It is insufficient to be decent at working on a project and rewarding effort is not always a valid replacement for doing things properly.
I agree that rote learning is not the most ideal learning out style, but even some rote learning has its uses. The idea that technology is the be all end all panacea to our education woes also ignores the fact that many schools and parents for a variety of reasons cannot grant access or do not have access to many of the tools required.
I earned my Masters in Teaching at Pace University which is a decent school. However, I found that the ideals of the program are often at odds with the reality of teaching in inner city schools. Many teaching programs do not adequately prepare teachers with the necessary skills. This is something that needs to be addressed as well.
The learning-by-doing model is a good model to employ if the goal is vocational training — which seems to be the way that many schools are heading. It neglects the arts and humanities, many of which are less about a project than tackling deep and complex ideas. Honestly, I used to think philosophy was useless, but have to come realize that philosophy can equip people with the necessary logic skills to tackle higher functioning order tasks.