In most of today’s classrooms assignments are not necessarily project based like what most real life situations look like. Most adults are presented with challenges, and need to have skills to know how to come up with solutions to those challenges. Solutions such as creating a timeline, making at budget, and etc. Project based learning (PBL) is much different than the traditional way schools typically teach. In most of today’s classrooms, and even past generations students would be given a study guide, to memorize answers from, and then take a test. After the test is completed the students typically move on to the next section. This type of teaching/learning does not necessarily set students up to be successful adults. However, PBL focuses on helping students practice critical thinking skills, collaboration, and communication.
As a prior student I don’t really ever remember doing any group projects, besides the oral language which really isn’t even considered a project. My fourth grader also has yet to work on a group project. In fact, my daughter did the same exact projects I did at her age. Those projects are the mission report, and a science fair. Both of those assignments were sent home with a timeline, and she had to return them in steps back to her teacher to look over. I laughed when we sat down to work on the dreaded missions report, because I remembered the terrible experience I had as a child doing that project. I can honestly say I don’t remember anything about my mission, nor do I remember anything about her mission either.
I find PBL to be a very fascinating forward moving way of educating our future students, and I believe it will improve academic achievement. I also feel that students will enjoy problem solving and being able to collaborate with their peers. Working with peers on projects will also motivate the students to want to try more. Of course some challenges will arise, and I believe the biggest challenge will be with the group work. Students and teachers may find it hard to handle conflicts within a group, and free-riding by individual students.