Our school setting has been for many years the same. Learners are sitting still, and the teacher reads or gives them the information that the learners have to know. At the end of a term, the learners write a test and are done. Most of the time they forget what they learned. Is this what we want in the future? Project-based learning (PBL) allows the learner to be much more involved in the lesson than the traditional way of teaching. “Teachers are no longer their students’ primary sources of information” (Price, 2012, p. 12). The learners are creating their lesson and context, the teacher has another meaning in those lessons.
PBL focuses on the learners designing and planning of a project. That can be through an end-product, presentation or video. The way of teaching asks from teachers a lot of preparation, the goals and outcomes should be clear for the learners, that can be through a rubric. The best way is an example from other students of the years before or from the teacher.
In creative arts, many projects are online available for teachers. Dance, drama, music and visual arts (CAPS & Department of Basic Education, 2011) are the main subjects in creative arts in South Africa. They can be seen as separate, but through PBL they should be connected. At least two should be present in one project.
The guidance of the teacher is critical. The introduction of project-based learning assessment can be with essential questions of a problem or challenge that the learners should solve. Guide the learners with ideas but do not tell them what to do. Learners experience actively real-world problems and challenges and obtain a deeper familiarity with the solution. It will help them later in life with real problems (Kalyoncu & Tepeci̇K, 2010, p. 2411). We are creating problem-solvers instead of problem seekers. Parents can be involved in the end-product, the learners can present it to the teacher on a open day and all the parent. That can be an encouragement for the learners.
This document is giving three questions that can be asked the teacher. “Will this project engage my students? Will this project engage me? Will my students learn something meaningful from this project?” (Price, 2012, p. 36). When starting to design a PBL lesson those questions are important to ask. Teachers are not alone; they are in a school and should be able to ask questions to colleagues.
Price, D. (2012). Works that matter. Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
Kalyoncu, R., & Tepeci̇K, A. (2010). An Application of Project-Based Learning in an Urban Project Topic in the Visual Arts Course in 8th Classes of Primary Education. 22.