An Explanation of Project-Based Learning

 

Milton Hershey School pic

Milton Hershey School
Image: mhskids.org

At Milton Hershey School, students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade explore a challenging curriculum with individualized academic and personal support. Milton Hershey School infuses its teaching with project-based learning.
Project-based learning is a pedagogical technique that challenges children to analyze and solve real-life problems. The strategy stems from the philosophy that education is most effective when it calls on students’ natural curiosity and desire to create, and thus it begins not with the study of facts and methods but rather with the presentation of an engaging problem.
Teachers may select the problem by considering a central concept that students would learn in a particular course, and then selecting an issue that would require learners to explore that concept. The problem may be taken directly from real life or may be a hypothetical extrapolation, though it must be complex enough that students will need to deepen their knowledge and expand their thinking in order to understand it fully.
The problem should also be multifaceted enough that there is no one right answer. Students should need to reason their way to a decision and defend their thinking either individually or as a group as the project demands. The reasoning process itself should involve the gathering of new information and the application of prior knowledge, integrated and extrapolated to apply to the problem itself. In this way the student learns to think about issues in the same way that he or she will one day do in the workplace.

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