Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Project Work or Project-Based Learning?

As a contribution to what was said here and here, Prof. Stella Maris Saubidet Oyhamburu sent me this article: The Difference Between Projects And Project-Based Learning.

Photo Credit: via Compfight cc

After reading the article and reflecting on how I plan and go implementing projects, I think it’s quite difficult to say whether EITHER I’m doing projects as put in the article OR I’m applying a pure version of PBL (Project-Based Learning).

I feel there’s a continuum between both approaches and, depending on the contextual factors, at times I move closer to one conception or the other. I think the main issue at play in complex contexts (e.g. teaching at state schools) is that we should remain flexible enough to be able to adapt our teaching practices to meet the challenges imposed by the context.

That is, this kind of dichotomies imposes an artificial categorisation on us. In fact, sometimes it’ll be more appropriate to work in a certain way, whereas other times, it’ll be more adequate to do something else.

Besides, I’m well aware of the fact that I must be highly critical of the sources and resources (academic ones or else) I extract information from and draw conclusions on. Most of them are in English and hence they just reflect the points of view and ideologies held in the developed English-speaking countries.

That is, the context where these resources come from has nothing to do with the teaching context where I work. Even the materials in Spanish (in print or on the Internet) usually come from Spain and sometimes from Chile, Colombia or Uruguay. Again, though we share almost the same language, they have nothing to do with my teaching context.

So maybe, although the prescriptive curriculum design clearly states which teaching approach we must use, instead of thinking in terms of this dichotomy or any other, I believe we must be ready to apply the teaching approach that better helps us meet our students’ needs. Like in the photo above, we sometimes give our coins to students, but they need change…

What do you think?

Anyway, here you’ll find other types of Lesson plan templates.