Sunday, May 2, 2010

Reaching the Multiple Intelligences

The idea of project based learning is one that I have seen quite a bit about lately. During the PBS special DIRT! The Movie they showed how effective the strategy can be with any age group. They featured an inner city school that started a garden to teach the students about all of the parts of a garden. They also featured a New York Prison that started a garden program for the inmates. The inmates in the program are also able to later enroll in a program to help beautify the streets of New York by planting trees. The narrator pointed out that the prisoners that enroll in the garnden program have a better re-assimilation rate and are less likely to be repeat offenders when they leave the Department of Corrections.

Edutopia's video, Project Learning: An Overview, made a strong case for project based learning. The main idea of prject based learning is to learn by doing. Throughout the video they gave several examples of different types of projects that have been worked on in the classroom- both in and out of the tradiditonal classroom. During the video they interviewed a man named Seymour Papert. Papert is an educator that believes that all classrooms should be project based. One of his quotes stuck out to me, "Standardization is a guarantee of low standards." He continued to say that "the standard I would like to see is thinking differently, and the individual having the right to pursue individual interests." I completely agree with him!
The video also mentioned John Dewey's progressive movement because it is very similar to the project based learning system. As an inexperienced educator I am still unsure about HOW I will be able to integrate these ideas in the classroom. I fully believe that the methods will be able to reach students with all of the three primary learning styles- auditory, visual, and kinesthetic- as well as the all of the other multiple intelligences, but, I am concerned with the fact that it is almost impossible to asses a students true progress when using the ideas of progressivism. Naturally the next question is- do standardized test truly asses a students progress?

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