Project-Based Learning

DCHS strives to address two challenges many special-needs students face in traditional schools.

First, many students find that traditional school moves so fast that they can’t absorb all of the information thrown at them throughout the day. Second, they may have difficulty translating what they learn in the classroom to the real world, and as a result they soon lose that knowledge.

The project-based learning approach at DCHS addresses these issues by ensuring that lessons go at the pace at which students can learn and by teaching lessons in real-world situations.

The following information about project-based learning comes from www.projectapproach.org.

Most traditional curricula include both knowledge and skills, providing guidelines not only for the capabilities students develop but also the topics they study… With planning, the Project Approach serves as an excellent way to enhance students’ knowledge and skills in meaningful, authentic ways; it also addresses another essential part of the curriculum: social and emotional development.

In making decisions about student learning, it is important to make sure the curriculum reflects consideration of the following: knowledge, skills, dispositions, and feelings. Traditional education already emphasizes the acquisition of knowledge and skills. But teachers have always noted the importance of developing students’ confidence in their strengths and their willingness to pursue their own ideas, both of which include elements of dispositions and feelings.

Furthermore, project-based learning requires students to collaborate. Collaboration requires dynamic intelligence (the ability to adapt to and build upon a classmate’s contributions), attention, listening, patience, and the ability to negotiate.

AT DCHS, projects may last weeks, months, or even an entire semester.

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