Project-Based Learning

I have had some experience with project-based learning in my school career. In my American Literature class I took my junior year of high school, our teacher assigned a project based on The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The project’s requirements were very open-ended; our only instructions were to create a piece of art or give some sort of presentation that reflected the themes of the novel. Students created paintings, videos, skits, and various other creative projects. There was even one student who performed a chemistry experiment in which each chemical reaction represented a theme or character of the novel. In a way, the project also required my peers and I to teach our classmates about The Scarlet Letter using our project creations since we had to present our projects to the class. I created a piece of music using the the computer software Finale. The project was very challenging and time-consuming, but it forced me to think outside the box and apply my knowledge of the novel to a specific task. To this day, I can still remember a lot about the plot and overlying themes of the novel.

I think that there are many advantages to project-based learning. It allows students to apply what they are learning, which will help them to remember the material in the long-term. Project-based learning allows students to see how the material is used in real world an gain a sense of accomplishment from successfully applying their knowledge in a real-world situation, as seen in the Schools of the Year 2050 project. Projects are valuable tools for teaching students lessons about time management, teamwork, and out-of-the-box thinking. For teachers, project-based learning is advantageous because it helps their students to obtain a deep understanding of the material and gain a sense of accomplishment from their accomplishments. The only disadvantage I can think of from a teacher’s point of is the time commitment, since teachers are under so much pressure to prepare  their kids for standardized tests in class.

Project-based learning can be very useful in speech pathology, which is what I hope to do in the future. At Shrines School, students with profound learning and communication disorders complete a gardening project over the course of a year. This project integrates multiple subject areas, practical life skills, and the use of technology in the curriculum. I think that project-based learning can be useful in any type of learning, whether it be corporate training, a classroom, or vocational training.