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Dangers and Difficulties of the Project Method and How to Overcome Them: IV. The Project Method


by James Fleming Hosic - 1921

1. Educational method is a necessity, not a luxury. Some of the current discussion of method seems to imply that precisely the same educational outcome is possible by the use of various methods. This is not true. Method is but another name for the activities engaged in by the teacher and the pupils. It is then an integral part of the experience as a whole. Change in any way the character of the experience and you change the educational result. Method is of the essence of the process.

To save time I will offer what I have to say in the form of a series of brief propositions.

1. Educational method is a necessity, not a luxury. Some of the current discussion of method seems to imply that precisely the same educational outcome is possible by the use of various methods. This is not true. Method is but another name for the activities engaged in by the teacher and the pupils. It is then an integral part of the experience as a whole. Change in any way the character of the experience and you change the educational result. Method is of the essence of the process.

2. The project method is not merely a new idea to be experi­mented with in the case of the little children of the kindergarten and primary grades. It is a fundamental point of view involving principles quite as applicable to high-school and college students as to the younger children. These principles are also applicable to the supervision of teaching. What is good for the pupils is good for the teacher.

3. The project method is economical. To the objection that it wastes time the answer may be made that this only appears to be true. If true measures are applied to the results, it will be found that more and better learning takes place in a given period when work is going on in the spirit of the project method than otherwise.

4. The project method is an application of the laws of learning. Any one who will undertake to secure the best psychological and educational conditions for learning, including transfer, as stated by Professor Thorndike, will find that he is using the project method. It provides for interest in the outcome, interest in the method used, interest in improvement, satisfaction with the responses made, and even for continued and intensive use of the bonds to be strengthened.

5. The project method is the application of the principles of democracy. Any one who will undertake to put into effect in his school the factors of socialization as set forth by Professor Dewey, namely, common aims, the spirit of cooperation, and division of labor, will find that he is using the project method. No special devices for socializing the recitation will be necessary.

6. The use of the project method cannot make things any worse than they are. The defenders of the present system some­times talk as though they believed that children are learning a great deal by the present method. Those of us who have sons or daughters in school know better.

7. There is much that we should all desire American children to learn which they cannot learn in any other way than by the project method. Chief among these results are the power of self-direction, and ability to share the common life. It is obvious that projects provide for a great enlargement of the uses to which knowledge and skill are put and for greatly broadened asso­ciations. The project method comes nearest to giving the opportunity for many-sided experience and a full life.



Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 22 Number 4, 1921, p. 305-306
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 3985, Date Accessed: 10/25/2021 12:26:59 AM

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About the Author
  • James Hosic
    Associate Professor of Education, Teachers College

 
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