Project Based Learning (PBL) is currently being employed in our carpentry course. Personally, I have always been partial to this approach, as I have experienced first-hand that having a question that drives a project and helps dictate what one needs to learn to successfully complete it, can be very effective as a learning strategy. Rather than peppering students with information, which they filter and as a result may or may not retain, having students seek and obtain information as required, seems far more applicable and manageable. While certain subjects, such as carpentry, are more frequently associated with this approach, it has definitely reminded me to consider PBL for other subjects as well.
When it comes to my current carpentry project, however, the PBL approach has definitely kept me on my toes. In the first class, I was introduced to the bandsaw, the belt-sander and the spindle-sander, in order to make my push stick. This Saturday, I had to learn how to use the jointer, table saw, planer, and biscuit-maker for my “Knock-down Bench” project (being made out of some lovely, donated, maple hardwood), which hopes to answer my driving question: “How does one successfully build a piece of furniture without any nails?”