Session SIX (Tuesday 8th March 2016 – 13:00 hrs till 15:00 hrs)
The benefits of research and projects (the guide)
A. Read the following documents:
- A Handbook for Social Studies Primary – see page 5 Section 4, URL: http://primarysocialstudies.skola.edu.mt/schoolnet/ns/social-studies-primary-handbook.pdf
- Kif nieħdu l-ikbar benefiċċju mill-proġett – URL: http://primarysocialstudies.skola.edu.mt/schoolnet/ns/progetti-kif-niehdu-beneficcji-mill-progett-FAQs.pdf
B. Take a cursory look at the guidelines and list of projects in the official Social Studies syllabus:
Year 3: http://primarysocialstudies.skola.edu.mt/schoolnet/ns/3-sena-il-progett-linji-gwida-u-lista.pdf
Year 4: http://primarysocialstudies.skola.edu.mt/schoolnet/ns/4-sena-il-progett-linji-gwida-u-lista.pdf
Year 5: http://primarysocialstudies.skola.edu.mt/schoolnet/ns/5-sena-il-progett-linji-gwida-u-lista.pdf
Year 6: http://primarysocialstudies.skola.edu.mt/schoolnet/ns/6-sena-il-progett-linji-gwida-u-lista.pdf
- Session Six (8th March 2016) will be about Social Studies projects. Student-teachers will be asked to identify the teachers’ and parents’ main concerns when their students are asked to tackle projects.
- What is the rationale behind the SS project? When working on projects, students: (a) do research (b) learn how to work on their own and/or in groups (c) learn where and how to look up information.
- If handled well, projects will definitely militate in favour of a child-centred pedagogy. In order to tap at benefits, students should work on projects during out-of-school hours. At the same time, proper use of circle-time can help students to unblock stagnant situations.
- Research – with regards to the SS project, research can include interviews, looking up information on the internet, publications by local organizations such as parishes, band clubs and local councils, observations and data gathering, taking photographs and collection of pictures.
- A brief history: (a) Teachers have always assigned projects to encourage students to research and then make presentations about interesting topics. (b) During scholastic year 2012-13 SSAR (Social Studies Assessment Reorganization) was piloted with Year 5 state school classes. During the 2nd semester (February – June) students had to choose and work on one project chosen from a given list. (c) The system was extended to all primary classes from Yr 3 upwards during scholastic year 2014-15. During the 2nd semester students could now either work on a project or else do a second fieldwork. This exercise carries 20% of the global SS annual assessment mark.
- How are projects assessed? These following criteria were formulated with the help of the EAU (Educational Assessment Unit).
- The Project Assessment Criteria
|Marks||Quality of work|
|17 – 20||Excellent: evidence* is clear, varied and relevant; presentation* is well structured.|
|13 – 16||Very Good: evidence is sufficient and relevant; presentation is stuctured.|
|9 – 12||Good: evidence lacks detail but still relevant; all the main points are mentioned; presentation is fairly structured.|
|5 – 8||Fair: evidence is limited yet relevant; some main points are missing; presentation is poor.|
|0 – 4||Poor: evidence is very limited and most of it is not relevant; presentation has no structure.|
*Evidence includes photographs, pictures, drawings, diagrams and information.
**Presentation implies the introduction to the project, the main items and the conclusion.
D. Some other considerations:
- Individual vs group work: since the project carries 20% of the global mark, students are required to work on projects individually.
- A second fieldwork or project? Presently, teachers are being encouraged to take the whole class on the 2nd fieldwork trip but also to encourage willing and motivated students to work on SS projects. In this way, in the same class one can have students being given marks for the fieldwork while others are given marks on the project.
- Gifted and motivated students can benefit a lot from work on a project. Projects can be challenging, absorbing and motivating.
- The role of parents in SS projects – parents should be aware of their siblings’ efforts; as such they can offer a lot of support.