The Project Method of teaching was first propounded by John Dewey. The basic idea of this method is that pupil can learn a lot of things with the help if association and mutual co-operation. This method promotes purposeful activities through a group of pupils and the pupil will work co-operatively. The pupils will work together by forming small groups according to their interest and abilities. The main objective of this method are learning by doing and learning by living together.
“A project is a whole hearted purposeful activity proceeding in a social environment”.
“A project is a problematic act carried to completion in its natural selection”.
“A project is a bit of real life that has been imported into school”.
Principles underlying Project Method
There must be some objective of the project because the pupils do that work with more enthusiasm which has definite and clear objectives.
The pupils are free to select the project. They select the project according to their will and they execute it with the advice of the teacher.
The project should be activity centered because the knowledge gained if activity is stable and useful.
The project should be real. Only then the pupils would be able to complete it naturally and in real conditions.
The project must process the quality of utility because the pupils do the work more interest which is useful for them.
Essential Steps of Project Method
The following steps are involved in this method
i. Providing a situation
ii. Choosing the project
iv. Executing the project
v. Evaluation of the project
vi. Recording of the project
1. Providing a situation:
In this step, a situation is provided to the students to think over in choosing some project to work on. They may be confronted with a problem while studying in the classroom, participating in co-curricular activities and going on excursion etc. It may force them to think about for choosing some project.
2. Choosing the project:
In this second step students try to choose a definite and appropriate project keeping in view of the resources in hand and the nature of the problem faced in the first step. They are properly guided by their teachers in this selection task. Then the aims and objectives of choosing a project are properly discussed through group participation.
The project chosen is again discussed in terms of laying down a plan and procedure for the execution of the project.
4. Executing the project:
In this step students are engaged in the execution of the project in a natural way without involving any artificiality. They plan their roles according to their abilities and capacities with a true, social and co-operative spirit.
5. Evaluation of the project:
In this step the work done on the project is evaluated from time to time. The line of action and mode of execution may be modified on the results of such evaluation.
A complete record of the work, their planning, discussion on significant aspects, their achievement etc. has to be developed by the pupils at the end. Also they should record the criticism of their own work and the suggestions for the further work.
Criteria of a good project
A good project can be accessed using the following criteria.
v A project should be purposeful, useful and practically applicable to the daily life of the students, with clear, well defined objectives.
v The project should help in providing useful and meaningful learning experiences to each member of the group.
v The project should be within the reach of the students in accordance with their interest and ability levels.
v The project should be feasible in terms the availability of human and material resources and time limit.
v The level of complexity of the project should match the ability level of the students.
v The learning activities of the project should be life-like purposeful and natural.
Merits of project method
1. Psychological method
Project method is based on psychological principles. The innate tendencies, interests and aptitudes of the students are best utilized in this method.
2. Democratic way of learning
Liberty, equality and fraternity are some of the cardinal principles which form the basis of project method. Right from the selection of the project till its execution students are provided sufficient freedom for thinking, decision making and going ahead in their assigned tasks. All of these students cooperate in a common project according to their tastes, temperaments, abilities and capacities.
3. Development of the social virtue
Many virtues essential for good citizenship like self-confidence, tolerance, patience, self-dependence sense of responsibility duty blondness, resourcefulness, mutual love and co-operation etc.
4. Practical method
This method of the maxims of teaching like ‘learning by doing’ and learning by living. Therefore what is to be learnt in project method is learnt by doing that in a very practical way. In project method the problems concerning actual life activities are undertaken therefore, it provides sufficient training to the students to use their learning in their practical life.
5. Dignity of learner
Project method emphasizes dignity of labor. Students irrespective of their caste, creed and social status join their hands in doing mental and manual labor in the execution of the project.
Demerits of project method
1. Difficulty on the part of the teacher
Project method provides many challenges to the teachers in charge right from theselection of the project till its execution. Every teacher is not equipped with such enthusiasm abilities and leadership essential for working with such a method.
Project method is an uneconomical method in the sense that the time, labor and amount spent in this method is quite larger than return received.
3. Not suitable for teaching subject
No organized and systematic teaching is possible in the project method.
Project method put obstacles in terms of the coverage of lengthy school syllabus. Through projects hardly a part of the syllabus can be covered and therefore, it doesn’t suit the present day teaching.
5. Not suitable to the present day condition
In India, our schools can be neither afford sufficient money nor provide appropriate personal for teaching with project method. For using this method, suitable textbooks are also not available. Schools are over crowed and the educational structure is examination oriented.