Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #93
What a title!
This article focuses on project based learning and the stumbling blocks students often encounter while doing them.
Stumbling block #1 – Students think the end results has to look pretty.
The final product doesn’t have to be perfect. It can actually be littered with errors. What counts – at least for me – is what the students have learned along the way to their final product. I’d rather have a student present a terrible painting that he tried his hand at creating because it was something he always wanted to do . . . as long as he demonstrates all that he learned in the process of creating his painting. And, of course, when it comes time for him to do another painting, of course, it will be better instead of a student playing it safe and turning in a perfect painting in which he really learned little.
I saw a lot of this in my Lit and Lang 12 senior final research project as well as some projects from my College Comp 2 class.
I love Caleb’s example. It’s not perfect, but it shows all that he learned.
Here are some suggestions to help students around stumbling block #1 –
- Use your relationship and personal knowledge of your students to help direct them to a specific area of interest within a unit of study.
- Offer differentiated product options. You can differentiate product type (poster, podcast, TedTalk) and product requirements (length, group make-up, medium).
- Suggest materials and mediums instead of requiring them.
- Conference with students to find out how they would ideally like to show their learning (written, using technology, creating something tangible). Then, work with them to determine specific criteria for their product.