Teachers perceptions of the challenges of implementing project-based learning on low reading student
Project-based learning (PBL) is a central strategy grounded in the progressive education movement that necessitated student-centered and experimental learning. An essay by William Heard Kilpatrick in 1918 was the first evidence of a project method of study. Kilpatrick utilized this method to foster learners’ motivation inclined to give students the freedom to choose the purposes they wanted to pursue. As such, PBL supports learners in ways that are beyond the traditional models of instruction. The cognitive and intra-personal competencies evident in PBL is specifically important for low achieving students in literacy. On the other hand, teachers are instrumental in the implementation of PBL and their perceptions of the challenges of implementing project-based learning on low-reading learners is an important area of study. Notably, a 2019 study by Lisa Aitken Harris revealed that teachers perceive that the most challenging things in implementing PBL are time, meeting accountability requirements, addressing standards, implementing the project within school schedules, and designing project-based experiences. Such perceptions are more often triggered by lack of training, negative attitude/mindset, and implementation with fidelity among other factors.
Lack of training is an obstacle in PBL implementation. Training of teachers is essential more so in increasing reading for low achieving students. Specifically, instructors should be coached on literary skills as such comprehension and discussion which are pivotal in assisting students to create their projects (Habók & Nagy, 2016). Besides training assists teachers to know how to engage low-reading students using the project-based learning model. PBL engages such students’ in reading literary skills by giving them ownership over their learning and having them choose a way to demonstrate the understanding of the skill. Further, the project-based learning will engage the low-reading students in hands-on activities in which they are active members, this fosters the development of the reading skill. Not every learner can connect with teacher-based instruction and that is why the PBL approach can be used by low-reading students to connect with assigned texts. As a result, this improves the levels of success in reading.
Apart from the lack of training, the mindset/attitude has a great influence on the teacher’s perception of PBL. A teacher with a negative attitude towards PHL will most likely not follow instructions needed for assisting low reading learners. The PHL model emphasizes motivation as a basic instruction for helping students with reading difficulties; an omission or neglect of stipulated learning procedures can be costly for students. Oktarini (2017) researched the different kinds of motivation appropriate for low reading students; intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation stimulates low-reading students to study a given material because it is interesting, challenging, and rewarding and a learner derives satisfaction from it. Thus, such learners enjoy the process of reading motivated by the desire to feel better in the learning process. On the other hand, extrinsically motivated learner reads as a result of outside factors such as the hope of moving to the next level of study. Consequently, reading motivation is pivotal in the learner’s ability to purposefully comprehend texts. Further, the motivation approach model enables students to have more power and spirit in applying language learning strategies. That way, the low-reading students can easily grasp difficult words, this enhances their literacy skills.
Another key factor in the PHL is the implementation with fidelity. Although there have been large-scale attempts to enforce learner-centered instructions, various studies reveal an inconsistency in instructional practices. For reform to be effective, teachers need to receive clear guidelines for recommended practices. In K-12 core curriculum interventions, implementation refers to “faithfully in practice”, which suggests that adopted practices should be used as intended by the developer (Du, Chaaban & ALMabrd, 2019). Some of the major challenges that teachers face while implementing a new system include; inability to create a culture of collaboration and interdependence, difficulty in adjusting to changing roles, and ineffectiveness in balancing PBL with the overall curricular demands (Du, Chaaban & ALMabrd, 2019). The aforementioned dynamics could have a negative impact, especially for low-reading students. Specifically, studies indicate that students enjoy reading when they work together in a collaborative effort (Du, Chaaban & ALMabrd, 2019). As such students can ask their peers questions and consult with people around them. Moreover, the incorporation of hands-on activities lets the students’ minds grow and learn from experiences. If a teacher does not implement the collaborative approach to the fullest, the low-reading students will be on the losing end.
Project-based learning is an effective strategy especially in addressing the needs of low-reading students. Although the model is coupled with various challenges such as lack of training, negative attitude/mindset, and implementation with fidelity, it is instrumental for improving the reading literacy skill. One of the essential elements of PBL is its ability to engage students in reading literary skills by giving them ownership over their learning. Moreover, motivation and hands-on methodologies are essential for low reading learners. Thus, PHL is a key tool for improving low-achieving students in different literary skills.
Aitken, L. (2019). Teacher perspectives on using project-based learning. https://www.teachermagazine.com.au/articles/teacher-perspectives-on-using-project-based-learning
Du, X., Chaaban, Y., & ALMabrd, Y. M. (2019). Exploring the Concepts of Fidelity and Adaptation in the Implementation of Project-Based Learning in the Elementary Classroom: Case Studies from Qatar. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/336237176_Exploring_the_Concepts_of_Fidelity_and_Adaptation_in_the_Implementation_of_Project_Based_Learning_in_the_Elementary_Classroom_Case_Studies_from_Qatar.
Habók, A., & Nagy, J. (2016). In-service teachers’ perceptions of project-based learning. SpringerPlus. https://www.academia.edu/26245499/In-service_teachers_perceptions_of_project-based_learning.
Oktarini, L. (2017). IMPROVING STUDENTS’ READING COMPREHENSION BY USING INQUIRY BASED LEARNING. Linguists: Journal Of Linguistics and Language Teaching. https://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/CTETE/v1/pdf/lapek.pdf.