Learning Strategies

What is Teacher-Led Project Work?

Teacher-led project work blends student-centered, project-based learning with traditional, lecture-style instruction. In other words, teachers direct active, hands-on learning within the classroom - often via long or short-term projects.

In this strategy, teachers oversee how and when students must accomplish a specific project and provide explicit instructions, explanations or examples of new concepts. The teacher may prompt students to work in groups, explore specific strategies of work or a set of new ideas. To some degree, students are steered toward a project's desired outcome by the instructor. Ideally, this method strikes a healthy balance between student collaboration and teacher-led instruction and communication.

There is no right or wrong way to implement teacher-led project work within a class. Projects can constitute the entire curriculum or simply consist of a few hands-on activities. The degree to which the teacher directs, or becomes involved with, student projects can vary greatly as well.

What are the benefits of teacher-led project work?

  • Teachers take a more active role in their students' learning process and well-being. When teachers actively lead or direct student work, they're able to quickly identify and correct errors in student thinking. This can prevent students from misunderstanding assignments or feeling left behind in coursework. Alternatively, teachers can quickly identify "gifted" students or students with special interests and tailor instruction or content to their abilities. When students feel an instructor cares about their academic success and well-being, their self-worth grows.
  • Students are generally better-behaved. Studies have shown that teacher-directed classrooms are generally better behaved. In teacher-led project work, the instructor exerts control over the class through clearly defined expectations, rules and routines. Methods of research or work that promote focus on the teacher, such as demonstrations or labs, are often used in a teacher-led class as well. These methods can distract students from exhibiting undesirable behavior. When students are well-behaved, class time is used more efficiently and is often more productive.
  • Class scores often improve. Effective teacher-led learning can improve critical thinking skills and overall class scores - largely because the instructor controls (to varying degrees) the way concepts are discussed or worked on, can quickly identify errors in thinking and maintain a more orderly atmosphere.

Stevens, Anthony. "The Benefits of Teacher-Led Classroom Discussion in a Secondary Social Studies Classroom." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Defiance College, 2008. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 08 Mar 2017.

Garrett, Tracey. "Student-Centered and Teacher-Centered Classroom Management: A Case Study of Three Elementary Teachers." Journal of Classroom Interaction. Vol. 43.1. 2008. Pp. 34-47. Web. Accessed: 7 March, 2017.

"Teacher-Centered Vs. Student-Centered Approach." Schmoop.com. Web. http://www.shmoop.com/teachers/teaching-learning-styles/teaching-styles/teacher-centered-vs-student-centered.html

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