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Archive for March, 2009

What is it exactly that builds a positive learning environment where all participants are actively engaged in the learning that is taking place? Obviously, there are numerous contributing factors but one that cannot be underestimated is the influence and direction provided by the teacher.

The content of the project, the project design and project implementation are all crucial components that have the ability to either switch our students on or rather devastatingly have the power to turn them away. As a teacher fully committed to Project Based Learning I have seen projects be part of both extremes. The question is how do we build projects that engage our students and ensure quality learning is taking place? I believe the answer lies within the relationships that are formed between all members of the class room – between students, students and their teachers and between team teachers themselves.

The connectivity that is formed through this communication is essential. It allows for a ‘link’ to be formed between the ‘worlds’ we live in and allows us to better understand what sorts of projects our students would be motivated by, by simply asking. In other words, when I have a project idea, one of my first actions is to put it to a few students and get their feedback. It works.

It works because from the outset of a project, when the entry document is ‘unveiled’ the students must find within them, a natural desire to set to work in order to reach or rather ‘create’ the final product. The ability to recognise the potential of an idea will generally come from the very students we expect to be able to complete the project.

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