We have changed the tools that students use, but if we want to help students improve their results and tackle problems such as school drop-outs, we also need to drastically change our teaching approach. As long as we keep doing the same things despite having different tools, we will encounter the same difficulties. Students need to take a more active role in their learning process and apply their knowledge to solve problems in the real world. In other words, we need to apply Project Based Learning (PBL) methodology.
We believe that this new approach will have a positive effect on our students, stimulating and motivating them and, consequently, improving their academic results and reducing school drop-outs. In order to implement this methodology, it is imperative we apply for this project, together with the other schools from Denmark, Portugal, Italy and Finland. As a result, we intend to put PBL into practice and learn from each other as we advance.
The teachers and students mobilities that we have planned are as follows:
- Oct 2018, Spain: this first meeting with teachers of each of the five schools will focus on organizing the Project, learning about PBL methodology, visiting one school where it is already implemented and designing the stages of the project for the following two years. From a list of ideas for projects which will be provided by the five associated schools, the first project will be selected to be carried out in their schools by their students.
- Feb 2019, Italy: at the same time as the Scientific Week, the results of the projects carried out between the mobilities and the organization of the school (classrooms, schedules, meetings, lessons duration, etc.) will be discussed in order to implement PBL methodology. We will also deal with CLIL methodology together with PBL.
- May 2019, Finland: the different projects will be shared and we will work on the implications of projects and the curriculum: how to carry out projects and follow the legal requirements of the curriculum.
- Oct 2019, Denmark: the results of the projects carried out between the mobilities will be shared and we will analyze the personal aspects involved in the projects. As PBL is a student-centred approach, it is important that emotional and personal aspects are also taken into account in order to work in groups, relate with peers and teachers, assume a role in a team, etc.
- Feb 2020, Portugal: the results of the projects carried out between the mobilities will be shared and we will learn how to assess projects, which tools can be used and how to integrate the assessment into the final marks in each subject.
- May 2020, Spain: the results of the projects carried out between the mobilities will be shared and we will analyze the role of ITC in PBL, a fundamental aspect when students are searching for information. Finally, the project will also be evaluated by all the participants.
The number of mobilities for Italy, Portugal and Spain is for 9 students and 3 teachers (one teacher will be with the students and the other two will be doing the learning activities for teachers). The Danish and Finnish schools are smaller schools and their mobilities will be 6 students and 2 teachers.
As a result of this Project and its corresponding activities, we intend to implement this methodology as part of the School Program, for this reason the participation of teachers and students will be a key aspect in order to share the results and their motivation towards the new approach. The impact will very positive in the educational community and in our school. More motivated students will mean better results and, as a consequence, fewer school drop-outs. A more motivating environment, the satisfaction of teachers and families will also increase.
In the long run, we will be helping our students to be prepared for the real world, fostering their autonomy, their empathy, with better problem-solving and group work skills. Students will acquire a better European awareness and more empathy towards other cultures that will help us build a better world.