Sunday, 16 September 2012

To Project or not to Project....

Do you send projects for students to complete at home?  I have to say this is something I have really had to look hard at over the last couple of years of my teaching.  In previous years at schools I have taught at there has not been a huge emphasis on it and I was fine with that.  The school I am currently at has had a culture of send home projects related to Science units, Health units, or Studies of Society and History.  As I was a new staff member I felt that I had to "follow" along with what the other teachers were doing, particularly as there were siblings in the same year level but a different class.  I have to say the majority of students enjoyed it and returned projects that were MOSTLY their own work.  My problems came when there was an obvious disparity between a students ability and the project they produced or the inequality of time and assistance that students had to complete their projects.  Asking students to complete projects at home when they are lucky to have a parent make their dinner or breakfast is providing an opportunity to fail.
The other issue I have with this is the time and availability of resources that is required to produce something the kiddos can be proud of.  Expecting a student to produce a poster when they can't get any paper or have markers or pencils at home is not fair.  Expecting a single, working parent to have the time required to help their child no matter how much they want to is unfair.
As I am posting this I am "helping" my daughter complete a very extensive project on the Australian goldfields.  While this is an interesting topic it has taken our entire weekend to complete it and I am concerned at the research skills required that don't seem to have been taught at school.  I am hoping that when her report is done that this project is not taken into account as this has not been reflective of work that she has done independently.

So here is what I did this year to feel like I was offering a project that was equitable and that I could be sure the students were completing their own work.  We did ALL of our projects at school, I timetabled my technology to research topics and rearranged my lesson plans to include projects in class time.  I was able to see where the strengths and weaknesses were for my students and I felt I was not putting pressure on parents who both work and have many after school activities or commitments.
This is something I will be following for the future as I believe that providing ALL students with success at their ability is soooo important to their self confidence and learning.

A bit of a heavy post I know but I just had to get it out!

What are your thoughts on send home projects?

1 comment:

  1. I sometimes do take home projects, but only a few a year. Usually I have pretty good results when I do have my students participate in them.
    I just found your blog & I'm a new follower. Looking forward to following along!
    Lisa
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

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