Today PBL is one of the ‘trendy’ concepts in education, and also one of the most challenging for in-class practices. What is actually PBL? What projects can be labeled as PBL? And what can be done to have more PBL projects and real-life learning in the classrooms?
What is PBL? In simple words, it’s a real-life, practical and impactful learning process where students explore and find solutions to challenges that exist in the world.
What must a project have in order to be considered an instance of PBL?
According to John W. Thomas, Ph. D, and his research, PBL projects are always:
1. Central to the curriculum. In other words, projects are the curriculum.
2. Focused on questions or problems that “drive” students to encounter and struggle with the central concepts and principles of a discipline, themes or the intersection of topics from a few disciplines.
3. All about constructive investigation where learning is a goal-directed process that involves inquiry, knowledge building, and resolution. The central activities of the project must involve the students’ knowledge transformation and construction.
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PBL provides something, that, in my opinion, is a key to successful learning – understanding of WHY we are learning at all. As a language course student I am often facing a situation when a teacher asks me to “just repeat it” or “just learn it by heart” which gives me no motivation at all. I always project my learning experiences onto my students, that is why I am trying to provide practical tasks or projects alongside with theory. I believe it gives students understanding of WHY and motivates them to learn and apply necessary skills.
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