UKEdMag: Project Based Learning by @MrMcKavanaghRE

All the best teaching ideas are transmitted through Twitter these days, perhaps rightly so, there’s a vast wealth of knowledge out there.

This ‘in brief’ article first appeared in our free UKEdMagazine, which is available to view by clicking here.
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Having read Tait Coles’ fantastic Never Mind the Inspectors: Here’s Punk Learning over the summer I came into this school year fully charged and ready to smash out the best lessons I was capable of. It started well, but then I started to plateau, so I turned to Tait, he was super friendly and helpful and he sent me in the direction of Ron Berger’s equally brilliant book An Ethic of Excellence

Reading Berger’s book, I knew that Project Based Learning was something I had to do. I just had to figure out where it was going to be most effective. This became a source of great tension for me, then whilst running and my mind firmly on working out how long it was going to take my body to thaw out, it struck me.

Year 7, the innocent, well-behaved ‘subjects’ of a project, but not just any project, the most ambitious project that I could come up with. They were going to design a place of worship. They were going to have to give detailed and accurate architects drawing, done to scale. They were going to submit a planning application letter explaining the need for their place of worship in their chosen location, using census data. They were going to draw up a letter to explain to local residents the impact that this place of worship would have on their lives. They were going to created a detailed budget. To top it off, they needed to submit a model, built to scale.

I wasn’t willing to go in half-hearted with this and I’m dreaming big, because if I don’t, then the pupils won’t either. I want them to not only understand the importance of Holy buildings in an abstract sense, but a very real and relatable way as well.

My three Year 7 classes and I are a week away from the finished projects and based on the work they have done so far, I cannot wait to see the results.

@MrMcKavanaghRE Teacher of RE – Slough & Reading

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