Passive learning and teaching have been at the receiving end of questions for a long time. More and more educators are now suggesting that passive classrooms are not sufficient for the growth of students. As the world requires more problem and solution-focused development of students, active learning methods came into the picture, to equip teachers with a range of techniques that can be used to increase student engagement and retention.
John Dewey, who gave the concept of active learning, gave the technique of Project Based learning. According to Dewey, students learn best when they are engaged, calling this philosophy “learning by doing”. Support for problem-based learning has been provided by Jean Piaget and constructivist theorists, as well. In all this theoretical support, teachers are shown as mentors and students as problem-solvers. However, more information and insight are needed on the applicability, process, and success of project-based learning in today’s scenario.
The blog below mentions the benefits of using project-based learning for teachers and the kind of questions that can be used to survey teachers, to learn their valuable experiences and knowledge about this learning approach.
Project-based learning survey questions for teachers
Teachers who engage students with problem-based learning can have intriguing insights and valuable knowledge for the teaching community. Hence, below are 25 questions to ask teachers about their experience with project-based learning.
- What is the learner’s role?
- Is there a common theme to projects?
- What is the purpose of this theme?
- How will you take care of subjectivity bias?
- How will you grade the projects?
2. Teacher Centric
- Why did you choose project-based learning?
- How do you guide students who need help with their projects?
- Do you take supervision from a senior, when facing problems?
- What kind of tools have you suggested to students for their projects?
- How much time do the projects consume both in the preparatory and evaluation phase?
3. Student Progress
- How much time is given to each student approaching problems regarding the projects?
- How did you decide on the standard of quality?
- Did project-based learning increase engagement in the classroom?
- How did you ascertain the success of project-based learning?
- Do students look forward to project-based learning?
4. Student Retention
- Did project-based learning impact student retention?
- Which projects best helped in the retention of the course material?
- Did technological tools aid in the retention of project-based learning?
- Which amongst solving problems or finding out solutions through research helped students learn better?
- How was student retention after projects evaluated?
5. Teacher Community
- Was there enough support from the school to undertake project-based learning with students?
- Was there enough awareness about this pedagogical approach?
- What is the outlook of teachers on this approach?
- Were you able to substantiate the success of this approach in the community?
- Have the school taken any step to incorporate project-based learning and help the teachers with the necessary support?
Effectiveness of project-based learning for teachers
Project-Based learning has unlimited benefits for students’ growth, but for teachers, it can definitely be an interesting alternative to conventional methods.
1. Improves Organisation and Planning Skills
Project-based learning is all about good organization and planning on the part of the teacher. Choosing an academic module for a project, and then deciding a time frame under which the project needs to be wrapped, is the task of the teacher. All the project background, such as whether to use a research-based or experience-based approach for data collection, finding the purpose of the project, and narrowing the target group for the project, amongst others, need to be independently carried out by the student. By breaking down phases of the project work, teachers can keep tabs on project progress and maintain pace.
2. Requires Inter-Mediate Instruction
Project-based learning is an independent form of learning. The main role rests with the student and the teacher needs to provide guidance inter-mediately. Unlike conventional lectures in the classroom, project-based learning requires students to engage in critical thinking and come up with their ideas. Even though teachers provide support at every phase of the project, much of the work just requires guidance and instruction, rather than in-depth teaching on the part of the teacher. Students, depending on the chosen topic of the project, can seek general guidance on methodology, inquiry, data collection, and analysis.
3. Gives More Responsibility to Students
Conventional classroom learning cannot provide information on whether the student is fully engaged in what has been taught. And the teacher has to wait till the end of the semester to review their retention, which isn’t necessarily a reliable measure. However, through project-based learning students are given responsibility for their work and a more transparent form of progress measurement can be maintained. A student who understands the importance of feedback, and comes for feedback and instruction are more likely to be perceived as engaged, however, teachers can also maintain a certain level of ownership by asking students to complete phases of projects as per set deadlines.
Project-based learning is based on real-life interventions or simulations. Students are directly asked to delve into the depths of the project’s purpose and come up with solutions. While instilling a solution-focused mindset, project-based learning enhances executive functioning skills like time management, planning, and organization amongst others. At the same time, a few games and activities about time management, organization, and other skills can help kids manifold. For teachers, project-based learning can be best summarized as the following proverb,
“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”
I am Shweta Sharma. I am a final year Masters student of Clinical Psychology and have been working closely in the field of psycho-education and child development. I have served in various organisations and NGOs with the purpose of helping children with disabilities learn and adapt better to both, academic and social challenges. I am keen on writing about learning difficulties, the science behind them and potential strategies to deal with them. My areas of expertise include putting forward the cognitive and behavioural aspects of disabilities for better awareness, as well as efficient intervention. Follow me on LinkedIn