Teacher Masters the Art of Modern Teaching Pedagogies
The sun beams brightly on the banks of the Nakhon Nayok River where a group of students gather to fill beakers with tawny water. Curiosity is in the air as students debate the water’s characteristics. Laughter abounds and fingers point out the distinctive features of the water. Welcome to Ms. Orawan Chuenjitra’s “classroom.”
The students explore the water, and Ms. Orawan poses simple, open-ended questions. They agree that the water is dirty, but how can they clean it up? The question would become the basis for the group’s project, appropriately named Sai Jaew (Filtering Cloudy Water).
Ms. Orawan hasn’t always employed the Enhanced Project-based Learning (E-PBL) approach, but through Kenan’s Professional Development program she mastered the art of harnessing the curiosity of students to carry out inquisitive projects.
To help her students clean the water, Ms. Orawan taught them the science behind water purification and then let them loose. Applying Ms. Orawan’s lesson, the students collected natural materials, such as papyrus leaves, banana tree fibers, and small rocks, found in the schoolyard. By packing these items into recycled water bottles, the students created a sponge-like system. After pouring the river water into the bottle, the students gazed with antsy-anticipation as the water meandered at snails-pace through the tiny fissures in the system. And then, viola! Crystal-clear water slowly dripped out of the bottle much to the amazement of the onlookers.
Today, Sai Jaew is only one of the fascinating activities Ms. Orwan’s 4-6 graders at Wat Pak Khlong Phra Ajarn School undertake. For Ms. Orawan, E-PBL is a game changer because it teaches key STEM concepts and develops 21st century skills simultaneously. Beyond knowledge alone, Ms. Orawan has found that students develop a genuine interest in STEM.
“Most importantly, the approach makes learning enjoyable for students. Once they start to take charge of the learning process, they have fun and want to learn more,” Ms. Orawan says. “Students feel like they’re playing, but actually they are learning the very things that we as teachers want them to develop.”
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