There is no question that I am a strong supporter of project based learning (PBL) in the classroom. As a kindergarten teacher, I see the benefits of hands-on learning. I also see that children in charge of their own learning creates an environment of curious, driven, learners that understand how to find resources. This is a basic element of creating life-long learners. Now, I want to know what PBL means for a classroom of diverse learners.
All classrooms have some level of diversity. There may be diversity in ethnicity, language, abilities, or needs. As teachers, we strive to provide a meaningful and effective education for all students. PBL provides choice, which is a solid step in providing a developmentally appropriate education for all students. Edutopia posted an article in 2007 about Auburn Early Childhood Center. They listed one of the advantages of PBL: “the students decide what projects they want to tackle, and teachers guide them to resources, on the Internet and in books, that help them create something from what they learn”. This aspect of student choice meets the needs of all learners. With the added benefit of guidance from the educators, students will learn from their choices and locate resources effectively. This aspect supports diversity and choice in the classroom.
What does PBL mean for at-risk students? I wanted to learn more and found an article on the Teaching Today site. It states:
PBL allows teachers to provide students with a more engaging and genuine form of learning that is based on learning standards. There are other benefits, however, especially for at-risk students. Project-based learning has been shown to increase attendance rates and decrease suspension, and disciplinary referrals.
This all boils down to students who are in control of their learning with drive and enthusiasm. Teachers want to see students successful, curious, resourceful, and cooperative with others. Project based learning provides the means and method to these amazing results.
Kindergartners Explore Through Project Learning | Edutopia. (n.d.). Retrieved June 13, 2012, from http://www.edutopia.org/kindergarten-project-based-learning
- Teaching Today | How-To Articles | Engaging Students with Project-Based Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved June 13, 2012, from http://teachingtoday.glencoe.com/howtoarticles/engaging-students-with-project-based-learning