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  • Wednesday, February, 2024| Today's Market | Current Time: 03:27:41
  •  Project-based learning   is a dynamic classroom approach that helps students to gain profound knowledge through actively participating in real-world challenges, engaging in inquiry and problem-solving to address complex questions. American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer John Dewey, who was an early proponent of this experiential method emphasized that a teacher’s role was not to impose specific ideas or cultivate particular habits in a child. Instead, it was to carefully choose influences that would shape the child’s responses. Educator and founder of the TreeHouse chain of schools, Rajesh Bhatia elucidates the point further and says, “John Dewey emphasised that learning is a natural consequence of doing. Integrating real-world situations into the learning experience can equip students with essential skills needed in a competitive job market. It encourages them to think on their feet and to confidently tackle challenges in academics, work and life.” 

    Mr. Bhatia also recommends project-based learning for the following reasons: 

    Enhanced student engagement

    The chalk and talk method is often a one-dimensional way of teaching and often results in reduced student engagement. Project based learning (PBL) on the other hand enhances engagement because it is student-centered. Here learning is gained through self-discipline, goal setting and organizational and analytical skills. When learning is dynamic, creative, inquiry-based, interdisciplinary, exploratory,and personally meaningful, student engagement automatically increases. This method also builds a sense of accomplishment, and confidence in students while motivating them to become proactive inside and outside of the classroom.

    Improved critical thinking

    PBL breaks through patterns of passive learning and encourages students to ask questions, grapple with multiple solutions, analyse which one is best suited to the problem at hand and cultivate their critical thinking. Through asking questions and formulating solutions, students become active participants in their education, take an interest in complex subjects, and become adept problem solvers, which is increasingly important in today’s world. Moreover, these skills are highly sought after by employers.

    Engagement with real-world situations

    Unlike traditional classrooms, project-based learning requires students to apply their knowledge to real-world problems. This kind of approach provides students with an opportunity to go beyond rote learning. Through debates, field trips, community service activities and creative projects, students can learn to apply knowledge to real situations and challenges. PBL is especially useful in STEM instruction and even in the arts and encourages long-term knowledge retention. 

    Collaborative and enriching

    Conventional education with its inordinate emphasis on grades often encourages unhealthy competition whereas collaboration is an intrinsic element of the PBL process. The collaboration aspect of PBL helps vocal learners to listen, to brainstorm and to work with rather than against their peers. This soft skill is crucial in corporate settings as well. In a PBL setting, the quieter students also get a chance to show their unique skills and perspectives. PBL also enables students to have difficult conversations with peers because it creates a space for dialogue and enriches the social and communication skills of the students.

    Personalized Learning

    A critical aspect of PBL is personalized learning that respects a student’s voice and choice. In fact, many international universities now facilitate students to customise their majors which could be interdisciplinary.  Student-led learning experiences could very well be the future of education and would reflect each student’s interests, strengths, and academic needs. It goes without saying that when learners are involved in their educational journey, learning outcomes are more positive.

    We need transformative modules of education today that can open minds and turn learners into innovators. To paraphrase American journalist Sydney J. Harris, the true purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows and PBL achieves exactly that. To prepare the next generation to deal with the complexities of the future, more Indian schools should adopt this transformative approach.


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