Bringing it Back to The Classroom
“Flip the classroom just a little.”
As the teacher, you may be inclined to control the project-based learning activity for several reasons. Foremost in your mind are the standards you are required to follow. Standard guide your instruction and classroom activities. In many ways, teachers feel restricted by the content and learning objectives which constitute their classroom. That means we need to flip the classroom just a little. With standards in mind, we can create a more productive learning experience for our students. We will use standards to guide our actions, not restrict them.
How can we use standards to guide our classroom instruction but still give students some leverage to have ‘voice’ and ‘choice’ when creating project ideas for project-based learning? Although there is no easy answer to this question, I offer some creative and useable suggestions.
“Giving students a ‘voice’ and a ‘choice’…”
Consider the needs of your students. Getting students engaged is important. In the traditional context, schools were run by administrators and the classrooms managed by teachers. This was good for the factory model of education. In the 21st century, this model does not work. We need to become better collaborators with our students. We do this so that students gain a sense of ownership in the learning process. It also makes learning relevant to their world view.
If we are going to blame the COVID-19 pandemic for something, we can blame it for forcing educators and administrators to evaluate traditional teaching models to determine their usefulness. In virtual and hybrid learning environments where contact time with the teacher is minimalized, keeping students ‘wanting’ to learn is challenging. There are too many distractions across all social media platforms. Giving students a ‘voice’ and a ‘choice’ in project ideas engages students and piques their interest in learning more.