PBL- Essential Element To Imbibe 21st Century Skills

PBL- Essential Element To Imbibe 21st Century Skills

Posted on: Sun, 03/31/2024 - 14:22 By: admin

                                       PBL- Essential Element To Imbibe 21st Century Skills



By Tina Verma


With the dawn of the 21st century, there has been colossal development in various sectors of the world economy. Education, being the most important segment, has indeed scaled all together to new heights. Various pedagogies and teaching methods have been introduced by the educators in the real life classroom scenarios.


As John Dewey states: “The teacher is not in the school to impose certain ideas or to form certain habits in the child, but is there as a member of the community to select the influences which shall affect the child and assist him in properly responding to these influences.” What he often refers to is, that the focus is on ‘schooling for life’. 


Project-based learning or PBL is one such student centered pedagogy. There are certain unique features of PBL which distinguish it from other pedagogies. Primarily, it is an instructional approach. It is not just doing a project in a group or working on an activity, but rather has a scientific angel in the field of teaching learning. It gives students an abundance of opportunity to develop their knowledge and acquire new skills while working on a project which is based on real-life challenges. 


In the article for English learners, “Stimulating Writing through Project-Based Tasks”, Kedir Assefa Tessema extensively talks about the principles of PBL. According to him, tasks or topics have to be based on socially-important issues with which the learners resonate. Secondly, learners should do authentic analysis, research, investigation, discussion and reflection to find the real solutions to real problems. However, learners should have a multidisciplinary approach in order to have a variety of perspectives. Moreover, Kedir also emphasizes documentation of the projects by learners for future references. Lastly, he talks about the most important feature of PBL and that is soft skills. PBL tasks have to be designed in accordance with 21st century skills such as collaboration, connection, communication, creativity, critical thinking etc. 


There are abundance of project based learning ideas or tasks. Many educators across the globe have been using PBL in their classrooms. Few examples are designing an app, designing a board game, designing a map, planning an accessible playground, preparing a business presentation, pitching an entrepreneurial idea, preparing an action plan against environmental pollution, planning a community services, creating a photo essay, robotics, AI, machine learning, carbon footprint, cybersecurity etc. The list is endless so are the ideas of the teachers, the thoughts to ponder over and issues to tackle with in the world. 


Teachers play crucial role in designing PBL for learners. They provide guidance and support. They ensure to provide conducive environment. It is more like that of a facilitator and guide who scaffold them initially. Thereafter, it runs on auto-pilot mode where both the teacher and students are in awe of the solutions. Under the guidance of the teacher/s, learners not only acquire unique set of soft skills but also learn from what went wrong. It is indeed designed as a time-bound approach, but teachers ensure that the students get hands-on experience while working on their projects. However, teachers can design it as a week long or semester long project depending upon the skills that they want their learners to acquire. 


Challenging non-traditional learning styles, PBL ensures to produce kinesthetic and tactile learners. The need to use PBL in the contemporary classrooms is often advocated by the educators and educationists across the world. It is required to ensure the active participation of each learner in the classroom and to have hands-on experience. It not only promotes effective communication but also enhances active listening. Responsibility and ownership, per se empowers the learners. The key feature of PBL is that it provides a personalised learning experience to the students which caterers to their interest as well. It encompasses higher order thinking skills (HOTS) in the tech-savvy contemporary students. It highly promotes interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach. Bridging the gap between the classroom learning and the real world learning, PBL pedagogy ensures the application of the acquired knowledge. There is no denying it to the fact that such pedagogies will build strong and resilient youth with a high social, emotional and mental quotient. 


Tina Verma is an English Language Teacher, currently working as a Mentor Teacher at DoE, GNCT of Delhi. She can be reached at vermatina999@gmail.com.