Teacher “ Turn to Page 54.”
Today’s topic is about Determination of the boiling point of an organic compound. Once we are done with this chapter, we will head to the chemistry lab to conduct experiments on this. Students using a thermometer and boiling tube, record observation after heating water & other liquids. ”- What you see is a class of the 80s.
Fast Forward to the Present Time
the teacher discusses with students on what the topics “driving questions” should be, children, do an experiment together. Then go deeper into the investigation by adding salt and seeing whether that makes any difference to the boiling point “. Students are encouraged to look at the problem from different viewpoints and to investigate and question before answering.
Take Another Example
The teacher asks the student to “Design a container” that curbs the milk from boiling thus avoiding the ubiquitous spillage problem. In the process of designing the vessel, the student is not only studying the boiling points but also exploring deeper into why milk boils over and water does not.
We have certainly moved from the didactic and entirely lecture-based teaching to which is popularly known as Project-Based Learning.
What is Project-based Learning (PBL)?
Here is a simple explanation – A student is given a problem. The facilitator asks probing questions. The student explores a way to arrive at the right solution.
PBL, the best technique or are we missing out on something?
Let’s pause for a moment, and look at this from the perspective of every student. Let’s say a student was curious to try this experiment with milk. Teacher discusses what will happen. Which is a good way to approach it? Another student has never seen milk being boiled in her house. So there is no way she could relate to it. And there is this other student who had a doubt on how much salt has to be added to bring about considerable changes in the boiling point. But that question was never asked because he was too shy to ask.
Every Kid is Different
We are talking about children with different knowledge levels, different learning styles and different personalities all in the same classroom.
PBL is a powerful teaching technique. But it is wrong to say that PBL is the best way and everything would be better if only we switched to project-based learning. There is more to it than meets the eye.
Success Factors for PBL
- Taking the role of a facilitator -Teacher plays an important role in the PBL process of instruction. The learning outcome is entirely dependent on the teacher.
- Secondly, if the project isn’t given time and attention to take hold, it will result in teacher frustration and it will be just another initiative come and gone
- PBL does not hold water unless the teaching method is customized based on every student’s learning style and that can be only possible if 100% attention is given to each student.
- How it is assessed has an important role to play in the success of this method. Is it a skill-based assessment? Does your child get a report card which says where exactly he faltered during problem-solving and how much creativity he has? Does his teacher keenly observe him on these parameters and drive discussions accordingly?
Want to know more about Project-based Learning, click here