THEORETICAL AND PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE
The purpose of project activity is to combine theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge. There are many ways to do this. What follows are presentations of a treatise essay, a study group and a portfolio.
A treatise essay dealing with the theoretical background of the subject matter of the project is often connected to learning projects. The purpose of such a work is to get acquainted in a problem-oriented manner with some aspect of the project and to present a clearly and consistently formulated written presentation of that aspect. The treatment of the topic must be delimited so that it will be possible to get acquainted with in more depth. The purpose is also to find one’s own point of view regarding the project in question – not everything that has taken place in the project needs to be thought out by way of theory.
The point of view of the essay will be agreed upon in the project plan. The style will be that of a study essay, which will also enable the inclusion of personal material in the essay along with the associated theory.
The merging of theory and practical project activity can also take place in the form of a study group. This means that a study group is established in a controlled manner to deal with the theory background of the project. The study group will have as its leader a student, a senior student or a teacher. The first meeting will deal with the purpose, action modes and commitment to functioning of the study group.
In such a study group, every student will in turn deliver a talkon a book, a chapter from a book or on a thematic wholeness. Following such a talk, the topic is discussed together, questions and different points of view are presented, examples are considered, explanations are given, and in-depth study is engaged in. In the end, a summary can be made of the discussion, e.g. in the form Mind Map. Meetings of the study group will be held regularly as agreed. The study group requires its members to commit themselves to work.
Why study groups? Social interaction is extremely important from the point of view of the learning results. The objective of a study group is to teach the students to discuss, share viewpoints, and to think. Discussion consists of explaining, listening and answering. Thinking includes the ability to resolve problems, to deduce and to evaluate. Working in a group develops the participant’s critical thinking and ability to resolve problems and it promotes comprehension. The working of a functioning group is not only the total sum of the work contribution of individuals; when all goes really well, the group can achieve considerably more than the students as individuals.
The effectiveness of the group is based on the interaction between individuals. Knowledge and thoughts are exchanged within the group. The group can also serve as a mirror in the development of one’s own thinking, e.g. as in regard to the weaknesses and strengths of deduction and problem resolving strategies. Group work also promotes personal growth, e.g. in the form of improved self-knowledge and self-confidence. The processing of matters with other members of the group helps one to understand the matters being dealt with in greater depth than when working alone.
The combining of theoretical knowledge and practical experience can be assessed also by holding oral examinations. An oral examination can be conducted out in many ways; in the form of questions presented by a peer group, a discussion, and as an individual examination or group examination.
When combining of project experience and theory use can be made of Portfolio. A portfolio usually includes a lecture journal or learning journal.