Many educators claim that learners are not “ready” for project-based learning. Especially in this region of the world…
They contend that students are too used to being ‘spoon fed’ information, and will feel helpless when given the freedom to explore and discover on their own.
And while many learners may indeed require additional support, as a whole, I don’t think project-based learning is something our learners fear.
If we are truly honest with ourselves, it’s something WE fear.
I know I did.
🙈 I feared my classroom might become chaotic if I wasn’t lecturing from the front of the room.
🙈 I feared I wouldn’t know how to assess students without a traditional exam to measure learning.
🙈 I feared losing control of behaviour when I re-arranged rows of desks, to become table groups of chairs that faced each other.
🙈 I feared how I would manage so many student projects happening at the same time.
🙈 I feared what parents would say when they didn’t see traditional worksheets coming home, or reports that provide an alternative to letter grades.
But when I finally mustered the courage to try PBL, none of these things happened.
Instead, learners sprung to life.
Quiet, shy students suddenly found their voice.
My ‘Non-Academic’ learners finally found they had something to contribute.
And hidden talents ranging from digital art, to music production, and spoken word suddenly emerged.
Below are eight teachers at Singapore International School (Hong Kong) who have also discovered that COURAGE.
Although their learners will still sit IGSCE exams, and send assessment work to external moderators for a high stakes grade; they will also write and produce plays to bring Shakespeare to life; generate short stories to help primary students transition to adolescence; and develop compelling texts to share with wider audiences around global issues.
Because these 8 teachers know what their learners are capable of when their work is seen by more eyes than a test practitioner.
We all have fears. It’s what makes us human. But I wonder what might happen if despite our fears, we still mustered the courage to do what’s right by our learners.
What are your thoughts?