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12 Reasons why Project-Based Learning is Better Than Traditional Learning

Written by Lenard Murray
Executive Head of Schools

If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow. - John Dewey Teachers College, Columbia University 

At SIS Semarang we use the Cambridge Curriculum from Primary 3 up to Junior College 2.

A few weeks prior I wrote about “Why Cambridge?” and explained that Cambridge has a guided pathway ensuring a natural progression from one stage of education to another. Cambridge is a trusted and very challenging program but considered to be predominantly assessment based. 

After careful and collaborative thought, Head Teachers from all SIS schools decided to forge an already great Cambridge curriculum to become even greater, by intertwining ’project based learning’ with it. 

There are many different ways for children to learn and every child is unique. Real life tasks or simulated tasks, spark curiosity and inquiry and provide learners with opportunities to connect directly with the real world. This engages all senses and allows students to create a meaningful, useful and shared outcome.  It also develops a child's ability to work with his or her peers, building teamwork and group skills. To personalise learning further, it provides teachers with better opportunities to learn about each child and communicate progressively on a range of issues. 

After the implementation of one project based learning assignment each semester, we were able to reconstruct our grading system to 40% Examination, 30% Semester Assignment (project), 20% Classwork and 10% Effort and Participation. The result is a balanced assessment that can better gauge a student’s full ability. Please note that our students will continue to do an IDP (Interdisciplinary Project) each academic year.  An Interdisciplinary project is a project where students must relate more than one branch of knowledge and  combine these disciplines into one activity, understanding how they relate to one another.  It is about creating something by thinking across boundaries.

A well balanced program and grading system ensures that students are able to develop the critical thinking and problem solving skills needed and be competently prepared for examinations as well. 

For more information on project learning, please read 12 Reasons Why Project-Based Learning Is Better Than Traditional Classroom Learning.