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Video: A guide to private schools
Video: How to find a middle school
By Psyche Pascual
Project-based learning is offered at all kinds of schools, including public and private elementary, middle, and high schools. Public charter and magnet schools often feature project-based learning in their curricula.
Mergendoller, the executive director at the Buck Institute for Education, believes schools, not individual classrooms, should offer project-based learning at different grade levels in order for students to build on their skills. In lower grades, beginners train with short activities that lead up to longer projects that can last several weeks or months.
Typically, students' work is reviewed along the way, so a teacher can step in, guide them, or ask a teammate to help out. The teacher may also schedule a meeting to find out what’s going on. As in the real world, students may get “fired” from a project for failing to contribute, though this would only happen in middle or high school and wouldn’t come as a surprise: the contract may even have a firing clause.
To evaluate how project-based learning works at your child’s school, visit a classroom. Ask principals not only if their schools offer project-based learning, but how many teachers are trained to teach it and at what grade levels. Finally, even if the program gets rave reviews from other parents, ask yourself if project-based learning is the right fit for your child.
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