Project based teaching creates opportunities for teachers to take on more of a coaching role than traditional teaching. Such coaching is often student-centered, focusing on student strengths while finding ways to overcome student weaknesses. The teacher, operating within his/her content expertise, encourages, motivates, and helps students develop skills, confidence, and competence (Boss, 2018). In her book Project Based Teaching: How to Create Rigorous and Engaging Learning Experiences, author Suzie Boss shares the following regarding engaging and coaching students (pp. 160-161):
- Know your students. Use your knowledge of students to engage them in their learning.
- Define learning goals together with students. Let students be part of the planning process and include them in developing the assessment rubric.
- Share the work with students. Students will develop a sense of ownership in the project process.
- Use student questions to drive and sustain inquiry throughout the project.
- Give students a voice in articulating expectations for the project.
- Create multiple avenues for meeting student needs. Teachers, peers, community experts, and students themselves can contribute to meeting the established learning goals.
- Reflect intentionally and often. Celebrate accomplishments.
Consider these suggestions as you plan for upcoming projects in your classroom. You might find you really enjoy a coaching role, and you might find your students really grow in such a student-centered environment.