PMIEF goes straight to teachers to ask tough questions: do these resources work in your classroom?

 

19 October 2017

Kendra Modzelewski

Written by Kendra Modzelewski

Written by David Urias

Published inPM for Social Good

Group of teachers and PMIEF staff meeting in Florence, Italy

Teachers from Italy, Portugal and Slovenia gathered in Florence, Italy, this month to discuss their experiences bringing project management into their classrooms leveraging PMIEF materials. Despite unique countries and classrooms, they all agreed: we will keep using these materials to improve student learning.

When global teachers implement project management in their primary school classrooms, the real winners are the students. This was a common takeaway from a recent PMIEF event that took place in Florence, Italy when global teachers came together to share their unique experiences using the Projects from the Future Kit for Primary School.  

Projects from the Future is one of many PMIEF Learning Resources designed to support teachers and project management practitioners in delivering project management skills and knowledge to their students. Originally developed by the PMI Northern Italy Chapter, the resource has now been translated into 14 world languages. (While this resource was designed for primary school students, feel free to check out other resources that are appropriate for youth at a variety of educational levels.) 

At the start of the event, PMIEF hoped to learn how the kit was being used in classrooms: were students benefiting? What kinds of skills were the students gaining? Did the teachers have to make substantial adjustments to the materials to make them work? Ultimately, the feedback from these teachers would help PMIEF tackle a tough question: is this resource a good fit for more global schools?  

During the event, teachers began by sharing out about their classroom experiences with the kit. While the materials were the same, they may have been using it with different grade levels of students or to support different final projects. Then, it was PMIEF’s turn to share.  In advance of the event, PMIEF had delivered a survey in four languages to teachers who had used the Kit.    

The results were overwhelming. Nearly all of the surveyed teachers said the tool helped improve their classroom instruction and their ability to manage projects. That was great news for the teachers, but what about the students? Three-quarters of the teachers said their students exhibited strong attention to detail and excellent ability to collaborate and problem solve while they were learning project management. 

As the meeting went on, more good news was shared. Teachers in attendance felt that both they and their students experienced higher self-esteem and self-confidence as they tackled projects. Teachers thought this was related to the students being able to learn independently. Another positive outcome of the independent learning was that students learned more about working in teams. “They exhibited leadership skills, learned to manage internal conflicts, and overall made better choices,” shared David Urias, PMIEF Programs Specialist, who represented PMIEF at the event.  

Another reason to be enthusiastic about the future of project management for youth was the teachers’ plans for the future. Nearly all of the teacher attendees and survey respondents plan to continue using the material in the future, and overwhelmingly plan to share the resource with their colleagues. In fact, they made some great recommendations to PMIEF for future improvements to the materials to increase their appeal to and usability by the teachers worldwide. One suggestion was to create a virtual delivery model for the resource, while another was to create assessment tools to evaluate project impact. The teachers suggested peer assessments, photo journaling, and reflective writing as some examples.  

This event provided an opportunity for teachers to speak directly to their classroom experiences with PMIEF materials. It quickly became clear that when teachers bring project management concepts into their classrooms, it is the students who are the real winners. If you’re inspired to bring valuable 21st century skills to students and teachers in your community, please consider using a PMIEF Learning Resource, and reach out to pmief@pmi.org for support!