Over the years, there have been many methods of teaching that have proven to be effective to varying degrees in different individuals. One such method is the project method of teaching. In this blog, we will be talking about what is project method of teaching, the steps involved in the process, the types of project methods, and their advantages and disadvantages of it.
What is the Project Method of Teaching
The project method of teaching is a medium of instruction in which the students are given a number of projects or situations out of which they have to choose the problem they want to solve. After the student has chosen the problem they want to solve, they will have to come up with a solution to the problem on their own. This is one of the most proactive approaches to learning, but what about the teacher in this case? The teacher, in the case of the project method of teaching, assumes the role of a guide than a dictator and guides the class through the lesson at their own pace.
The project method is an alternative classroom model that gives more focus on the aspect of student learning rather than the teaching aspect of the lesson. It emphasizes trusting the students and not imposing a learning style onto them. The responsibility of the work falls directly on the students since even the curriculum content and technique are considered from the student's POV. So this method is completely student-centric.
Who Developed the Project Method of Teaching?
The project method of teaching is generally considered to have been formulated, developed, executed, and perfected by educator William H. Kilpatrick. Even though it is deemed to have been proposed as a concept back in 1908 as a means of improving the method of teaching agriculture, Kilpatrick is credited with elaborating upon the concept and popularizing it worldwide in his famous article, "The Project Method" which was published in 1918.
Project Method - 5 Steps
Given below are the 5 main steps that constitute the project method of teaching:
The first step in the process of the project method is the selection of the project work. The students are given some problems from which they should select the subject or project which has the maximum utility and fulfill a specific practical need. In this process, teachers act as guides and motivate the students to keep on track and choose wisely on the basis of their aptitude.
Planning is the next step in the project method of teaching. In this phase, students should do planning for the project work and the teacher will guide them and help them in the process. The students can be brought together to express their views and give suggestions in the form of a discussion, where the teacher can raise points of objection and problems related to the project they have taken.
Following the planning phase comes execution, where the students execute the project work as per their plan as created in the previous step. The students assign their duties among themselves according to the interest of the individual students and on the basis of their respective capabilities. Every student will hence be contributing toward the completion of the project in their own way - collecting data, visiting places, gathering information, reading history, and so on. The teacher again comes in as a guide and provides the necessary information, helping them to keep on the right track.
The fifth and final stage of the project method is evaluation. The whole work is reviewed by the teacher and students get judged or assessed on the basis of their performance. They carry out the project as planned, following which the mistakes they have made in the process are noted down.
Types of Project Method of Teaching
The proponent of Project Method, Kilpatric, classified it broadly into four types as explained below:
In the constructive project method, the learners are instructed to construct something related to social life such as models, maps, charts, parcels, and so on.
This type of teaching is generally employed in the field of aesthetics and arts such as music, fine arts, culture, literature, and so on.
Problem Solving Method
The problem-solving method is used to solve problems related to real-life situations on any subject such as how to send an email, how to operate bank accounts, how to use a particular product, and so on. Solving these problems will ideally make the students efficient in social life.
Group Work Method
This method employs all the students with a task to complete in the form of a group. The team then sets out to complete that task with the teacher acting as a guide. This can be as complex as an engineering project that requires different areas of expertise to collaborate on something as simple as setting up a garden in the school.
Advantages of Project Method
Now that we have covered what the project method entails and its subtypes, let’s get into the advantages of this method of teaching:
Active Learning Experience
The project method emphasizes the concept of learning by doing. Students actively get involved in the learning activity, hence helping them in enhancing their skillset, first-hand experiences, and thinking capacity. Incorporating active learning in students’ daily lives can be quite helpful in the long run.
Inculcating a Sense of Responsibility
In the project method of teaching, the teacher is a guide and the activities carried out in the class are carried out by the students themselves. This helps improve self-reliance and self-responsibility among students. It helps students learn on their own and develop their own style of learning.
Improves Collaboration Among Students
Since the project method employs a methodology where students work in collaboration with their group, it helps students bond with one another on a professional as well as personal level, hence making their overall learning experience interesting and insightful. It instills in them a sense of cooperation and builds on their social skills immensely.
Improves Communication Skills
It helps students improve their communicative skills drastically because students are given the opportunity to express themselves freely among their peers as well as their teachers, hence helping them communicate more effectively.
Improves Critical Thinking Skills
Critical thinking skills are 21st Century Skills that students of all ages need to have in today’s time. It is something that needs to be cultivated with respect to the future of the students and needs to be dealt with with utmost diligence.
Disadvantages of Project Method of Teaching
As with any method of teaching, the project method also has certain disadvantages, some of which are given below:
Teaching students using the project method can be time-consuming as there are a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration when teaching using this method such as the student's ability to comprehend the subject, the speed with which they do so, the factual accuracy of the project and so on. There are a lot of factors that need to be observed and duly corrected by the teacher. This is the perfect segue into the next point: the lack of expert teachers.
The Lack of Experienced Teachers
The project method of teaching can only be conducted by experienced teachers who have several years of experience, which a lot of teachers may not have. This leads to a shortage of teachers and hence incapability to execute this form of teaching effectively.
Not Suitable for All Subjects
The project method of teaching is most suitable for subjects that require practical knowledge, and so subjects such as arts, literature, and so on may not benefit a lot from this form of teaching.
The project method of teaching is just one type of teaching method that can be applied in a classroom. There are several other teaching methods that can be employed in different situations that make them effective. The context, subject, and type of learning style the students prefer all come into play when determining such a method of teaching.
Suggested Read - What are the Different Methods of Teaching?
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