Project-Based Learning

At PCIS, we focus instruction around the creation of projects.  This is known in education as project-based learning (PBL).  In this approach, students create projects based on problems or questions posed by the teacher or by the student.  Just like in the everyday world of work and living, students go through a process to answer or solve the issue and then present their work in a wide variety of ways to various audiences. The benefits of this approach are numerous.

Project-based learning allows students to work at their own learning level which is crucial in our differentiated classrooms. It also allows students to work in different learning styles and express their learning in creative ways. Choice is a critical part of the PBL process and learning to make thoughtful choices is a life skill we help develop at PCIS.

 

PBL better reflects the processes students need to use outside of school and will need in any job.  It requires students to be hands-on learners and to study a concept more in depth and in a much more meaningful way than rote learning does. Projects require a higher level of thinking than tests.

 

Students, rather than teachers, should be the focus of all instructions and PBL centers on the student.  It also provides students the opportunity to see and assess their own learning thus making them more active in the entire learning process. The sense of ownership that is developed through the creation of a project instills the high-level of self-confidence for which we strive at PCIS. Because PBL assessment is based on the process as well as the product, students are better able to analyze their learning habits and learn to improve their own learning with each project.


Projects are designed for an audience and feedback is more constructive and varied when it comes from many sources.  At PCIS, we offer some projects to classmates, students from other classes, various teachers and even from parents and community members. This provides a more realistic picture of student achievement than a written test does.

 

Learning never exists within a single subject area and project-based learning reflects the cross-curricular approach that innovative schools are taking. Projects encompass the five language skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing and thinking. They also require an understanding of the research method and the scientific method.  Math skills are also usually required. Projects also incorporate valuable skills that are not often taught in school like planning, setting long- and short-term goals, presentation, use of multimedia, aesthetics, self assessment and often cooperation and collaboration skills.

 

For all of these reasons, we have chosen to incorporate project-based learning into every class at PCIS!


For more, see the links about the project-based learning on our links page.

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