Once again, the shift from conventional learning methods to more project-based learning has been the topic of conversation among educators and schools nationwide.
Advocates of project-based learning say it has proven to be an integral part of student success and growth in the long term.
While Paly has implemented project-based learning in some of its courses, namely its journalism and Advanced Authentic Research (AAR) programs, The Campanile believes that this method should be expanded to include core subjects.
While the idea to shift towards more project-based learning may be appealing and potentially helpful, students may feel reluctant to change.
There comes a time when a student will receive a poor grade on a long-term project or lab. These low grades on projects can be rather demoralizing, and often there is no way to make up for those grades.
The Campanile believes project-based learning should be implemented more frequently in classes because projects allow students to develop more applicable skills than exams do.
Completing projects involves the use of many critical thinking and time management skills, according to educational foundation Edutopia.
“Because project-based learning is filled with active and engaged learning, it inspires students to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they are studying,” according to the Edutopia website. “In addition, students begin to develop confidence and self-direction as they move through both team-based and independent work.”
Additionally, partaking in project-based learning will more effectively prepare students for the future workforce and higher education. In the real world, we will be expected to collaborate on long-term projects with co-workers often.
The same can be said for higher education in which we will be asked to work on long papers and research projects. The cooperation and time-management skills that we acquire from classes in high school will aid us later in life, if performed correctly.
The Campanile proposes that teachers implement at least one long-term project per semester so that students will introduced and aided in creating end products that they can take pride in and utilize in the near future.
The idea to implement new projects is a great one if executed correctly.
Because these projects will be relatively long-term, it is only natural that they count for a significant portion of students’ grades.
However, the student who receives a relatively low grade on an important project may not be able to raise the overall class grade because of the lack of opportunities to offset such grades currently offered within the majority of courses at Paly. This simply shifts the stress from tests to projects.
As a solution, The Campanile suggests that teachers allow students the ability to redo or earn additional credit for projects in which they receive a low grade. Not only would doing this alleviate the stress around creating perfect projects on the first attempt, but it would also serve as a learning experience for those who have done poorly on their projects. Through this process, students will realize the complications involved in big projects, and recognize that lengthy projects usually are not successful on their first attempts.
This academic policy would promote learning rather than demoralizing the student who performs poorly on high-value projects, and is also more similar to the reality that we will encounter in the workforce or in higher learning.
We realize that as the world of education adapts to new and more effective learning methods, so must Paly.
With the suggested improvements, The Campanile believes that students will be able to learn in a more captivating and interesting manner that makes them feel supported, comfortable and ready for situations beyond high school.