The project method is a significant landmark in the history of the methodology of education. It is directly in line with the current progress and fits in very comfortably with the other developments. The method is not totally new. It owes its origin to the American philosophers belonging to the pragmatic school of philosophy. W. H. Kilpatrick was a chief proponent of this method. He was influenced by the John Dewey’s Pragmatism principle. He published a paper on ‘The Project Method’ in 1918. He mainly focuses on the purposeful activity and problem solving capacity of the students based on their needs, interest, attitudes and abilities.
The project method is the embodiment of a new way of looking at the pupil and a new way of teaching him to live. It aims at bringing out what is in the child and at allowing him to develop himself. It gives an opportunity for self-expression, and for relating the self to the community. The idea underlying the method is that the children should develop their knowledge through trying out theories in the practical solution of problems in the course of which they would come to appreciate the principle involved. For this purpose, a project will be purposeful act to achieve the desired objectives.
The term project is no longer reserved for the planned undertaking calling for the constructive thought and action. Project means almost any undertaking. It is activity oriented but it is more than the simple activity. It advocates that the education should be related to the life situation. The main focus of this strategy is socializing the child and developing the problem solving ability.
Definition of Project
“A project is a whole-hearted purposeful activity proceeding in a social environment.”W. H. Kilpatrick
“A project is a problematic act carried to completion in its natural selection.”R. L. Stevenson
“A project is a bit of real life that has been imported into the school.”Ballard
“A project is a unit of activity in which pupils are made responsible for planning and purposing.”Parker
“A project is a voluntarily undertaking which involves constructive effort or thought and eventuates into objective results.”Thomas and Lang
Types of Projects
According to Kilpatrick there are four types of projects. They are:
Practical or physical tasks such as construction of article, making a model, digging the well and playing drama are done in this type of projects.
Appreciation powers of the students are developed in this type of project through the musical programs, beautification of something, appreciation of poems and so on.
In this type of project develops the problem solving capacity of the students through their experiences. It is based on the cognitive domain. For instance, how to operate a bank account? or how to send a thing at distant place?
It is for the mastery of the skill and knowledge of the students. It increases the work efficacy and capacity of the students. For instance, this type of project may be taken up to give drill in singing or swimming.
Individual and Social (Group) projects
In individual projects, every student solve the problem in their own according to their interest, capacity, attitude and needs. It develops the problem solving qualities individually and not the social qualities.
In Group projects, the problem is solved by the group of pupils in the class. Here the social, citizenship qualities and synergism are developed.
Simple and Complex project
In the simple projects, the students complete only one work at a time. They also focus the work in one subject or one area only. It gives the deep information about the project in one angle. The students get deeper and broader knowledge about the problem.
In the complex projects, the students carry out more than one work at a time. They focus on the work in various subject and angles. Here the students get the knowledge about the work in various activities and dimensions.
Principles of Project Method
Principle of Purposefulness
The project should be purposeful, and that should have some main objective. The objective should give the enthusiasm and work to the students, otherwise that will be a wastage of time and energy.
Principle of Utility
The project should be useful to the students and the society. It should be of some value to the students. From a good project, the students as well as the society may get the benefit a lot.
Principle of Freedom
The students should be free to select the topic and execute the work according to their will and wish, interest, attitude and capacity. The teacher should only be a “guide on the side” and give guidelines to execute that.
Principle of Activity
Project means the purposeful activity so at the end of the project the students must gain knowledge through their activity. It is also a demand of the principle of learning by doing.
Principle of Reality
Project should be real and related to the life situation of the students and the society. Only then they would be able to complete the project naturally and really. Imaginary problems must not be taken up in the project.
Principle of Social Development
A good project focuses society needs, social development, and usefulness to the society. A single project solves the problem of the thousands of the people or the society.
Principle of Planning
The students plan in advance about the project. They find solutions for – How? When? What? Where? Why? So, good project develops the problem solving capacity and prior planning for the execution.
Paradigm of Project Method
Project method has the following steps:
In the first step teacher creates the proper situation to the students in the class. He shares the knowledge about the project method procedure, steps, and uses with the students. After that he provides proper motivation through conversation about the day to day life problems to the students.
Selection of the problem
Then the teacher helps the students to select the problem and guide them. Here the students are having freedom to choose the topic or problem based on their interest and ability. Before choosing the topic the principles should be taken in to an account.
The teacher discuss with the students about the problem through various angles and points. He should create the situation of the discussion with the students and they are allowed to talk freely and openly. After the free expression of the students’ opinion about the problem, the teacher writes down the whole program of action stepwise on the blackboard. The grouping is made by the teacher based on the interest and ability of the students.
The students start their work in this step. They collect the relevant information/data and materials at first. The teacher should give time to the students according to their own speed, interest and ability. If need arises, he may provide the necessary help and guidelines to the students. He demands the groups to complete the project in the particular time.
Here the students evaluate their task. They determine whether the objectives have been achieved or not. After that they criticize and express their feeling about the task freely. The planning, selecting the task, and execution are discussed in the class. All these things are collectively reported to the teacher.
Reporting and Recording
It is the last step of the project method in which each and every step of the work are reported. The reported things are recorded in a certain order in a book form. The record is useful for the further use and future reference about the project. It reveals many ideas about the concerned project. The book formatted report is submitted to the teacher at the end.
Advantages of Project Method
- It is students centered, activity based method.
- Students involves whole-heartedly in the learning process according to their needs, attitude, interest and ability.
- This method is related to the life situation of the students.
- This method develops the problem solving ability to the students.
- It makes the students independent and confident.
- It gives the real work experience to the students.
- It develops the social qualities and synergism in the students’ heart.
- It develops the responsibility realization of the students.
Limitations of Project Method
- It is a time consuming method.
- It is difficult to complete the prescribed syllabus in a particular time.
- It is a very costly method.
- It is not applicable for the lower classes.
- All topics cannot be through this method.
- It is not applicable for the all schools.
- It needs so much material for the execution.