Project Based Learning
Project Based Learning, also called PBL, is a teaching method that involves engaging students in solving authentic problems or challenges that require them to apply various skills and knowledge. In Project Based Learning, students work in teams or individually to plan, research, create and present a product or solution that addresses a real-world issue or question. Project Based Learning helps students develop critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication skills, as well as deepen their understanding of the subject matter and its relevance to their lives and society.
At both Cedars International Academy schools, our teachers personally design projects based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for their subject areas, ensuring that each project is:
- Student-Centered: The learner is at the center of the learning process, not the teacher. The teacher acts as a facilitator, guide, coach, and mentor, rather than a transmitter of information. The teacher provides opportunities for students to explore their interests, passions, and strengths, and to co-create their learning goals and pathways. The teacher also differentiates instruction according to the diverse needs, abilities, and preferences of each student.
- Inquiry-Based: The learning is driven by questions, problems, and challenges that are relevant, authentic, and meaningful to the students. The teacher helps students formulate their own questions and hypotheses, and guides them through the process of finding and evaluating information, analyzing data, drawing conclusions, and presenting their findings. The teacher also encourages students to reflect on their learning process and outcomes, and to ask new questions.
- Collaborative: The learning is social and interactive, not isolated or passive. The teacher fosters a positive and supportive learning community where students can share their ideas, opinions, perspectives, and feedback with each other. The teacher also promotes teamwork and cooperation among students by designing tasks that require interdependence, negotiation, compromise, and consensus. The teacher also connects students with other learners and experts outside the classroom through online platforms and networks.
- Creative: The learning is innovative and original, not repetitive or standardized. The teacher stimulates students' imagination and curiosity by providing open-ended tasks that allow for multiple solutions and interpretations. The teacher also supports students' expression and creation of new products, services, or processes that demonstrate their understanding and application of their learning. The teacher also celebrates students' diversity and uniqueness by encouraging them to showcase their talents and passions.
- Integrative: The learning is interdisciplinary and holistic, not fragmented or isolated. The teacher connects the content and skills across different subject areas and disciplines by using real-world contexts and scenarios that require multiple perspectives and approaches. The teacher also helps students make connections between their prior knowledge and experiences and their new learning. The teacher also integrates digital technologies and media into the learning process to enhance students' access, engagement, collaboration, creativity, and communication.
- Modern: Often called “21st Century Skills”, the learning involves integrating technology, fostering critical thinking and creativity, promoting collaboration and communication, and developing cultural awareness and global citizenship. These skills and competencies are essential for students to thrive in a complex, diverse, and dynamic world.
Making the pedagogical shift in the delivery of instruction to Project Based Learning provides our students opportunities for deeper learning that can help students engage in authentic and meaningful educational experiences that connect to their personal interests and passions.
At Cedars International Academy schools, teaching and learning is not only about delivering content and assessing outcomes; it is about empowering students to take ownership of their learning, to explore their potential, and to make a positive impact on the world.