Project-Based Learning—How it benefits students

We’ve been reading a lot about project-based learning (PBL) and felt it would be beneficial to understand it better, so we researched it to increase our understanding. In our last blog post, we looked at some of the key elements of project-based learning. In this post, we share some of the benefits educators have seen as they implement PBL.

Benefits of Implementing PBL

Educators want what’s best for their students and work hard to ensure what they do in the classroom is worth everyone’s time and effort. Like any change in teaching and learning methods, integrating PBL takes time, effort, and planning—the benefits have to be worth it! So what are the benefits of implementing PBL?

Students develop “soft skills”

Soft skills are increasingly identified as crucial to success. PBL helps students learn to effectively collaborate and communicate. Students receive increased opportunities to consider multiple perspectives and develop empathy for others.

Critical thinking, problem solving

The complex problems that students solve in PBL require them to engage in “inquiry, research, and ideation.” They have to look at the problem from different angles and keep moving forward to find a solution. These skills can transfer to other problems and are useful throughout students’ lives.

Excitement about learning

PBL can ignite students’ excitement about learning. When they work to solve a problem they’re passionate about and can see real-world application, it can increase excitement about new projects and learning opportunities.

Developing a growth mindset

PBL provides a great opportunity for developing a growth mindset. Projects require continued testing and revision, helping students see that most work isn’t generally perfect in the beginning stages. PBL gives students permission to fail and move forward, reworking their plan where needed.

Project-based learning may not be a fit for every situation, but it offers many benefits that teachers are seeking for their students. Many teachers and students are already seeing value from implementing it into their classrooms. Have you tried PBL? What has your experience been?

3 Ways to Nurture Student Leadership

Students collaborating

Leadership skills are highly sought after by employers today, so it’s only fitting that they are taught to students from a young age. Many schools offer programs that teach leadership qualities, including student council, peer mentoring groups, safety patrol and student clubs. In addition, here are three small things teachers can do to nurture skills students need to become leaders.

Teach students to believe in themselves and their ability to succeed.

High levels of self-efficacy, or belief in their ability to reach a goal, lead students to challenge themselves. Those students also have higher intrinsic motivation, a key characteristic in students who become adult leaders. We can accomplish this through inquiry-based activities, collaborative learning, and helping students appreciate how far they have come instead of comparing themselves to other students.

Teach students to work together and teach each other.

Communication skills are essential for good leaders, and working in groups helps students develop necessary communication and problem-solving skills. When students teach each other, it requires them to re-read and review material. It improves self-confidence and presentation skills, which are also qualities of a good leader. This can be facilitated through group work, projects, or presentations.

Teach students responsibility and give them more responsibilities over time.

Responsibility entails accountability, self-control, discipline, and trustworthiness. Students practice responsibility by doing their homework, studying for tests, and accepting the consequences when they don’t. When students receive bad grades or have discipline problems, recognize their achievements and help them realize they can do better. Giving out small classroom jobs and daily tasks can also increase their sense of responsibility.

Along with math, reading, and writing skills, students need to develop the qualities that are necessary for college and the work force. Teaching today’s children and adolescents to be leaders from a young age will, without a doubt, better prepare them for the future.

Making Flexible Seating Possible

student working in flexible seating classroom

Flexible seating in classrooms has been growing in popularity. Many teachers have tried it out and recognize its benefits in students’ attendance, grades, and even behavior. Flexible seating lets students choose their learning space, providing a variety of seating options in the same classroom. It allows students to be more comfortable, and use up excess energy. It can even provide better oxygen flow to the brain. Continue reading “Making Flexible Seating Possible”

Preparing Students for Exams: Not Just Memorization

Prevent interruptions with custom zones

Albert Einstein said, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” Many times, students seem to focus their attention and energy on memorizing concepts and doing schoolwork in order to get good grades and do well on exams. But one can argue that after the papers are turned in, after the final exam has been graded, when they are not thinking about the next test, the knowledge remaining is what they have truly learned. Continue reading “Preparing Students for Exams: Not Just Memorization”