Decatur City Schools Implement New Teaching Method - FOX 54 WZDX – Huntsville News, Weather and Sports

Decatur City Schools Implement New Teaching Method

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DECATUR, AL (WZDX) - Decatur City Schools will roll out a new teaching method this fall to students at five of its schools.

The school system is the first in the state chosen to pilot the new program called project-based learning.

Educators from five Decatur City Schools are back in the classroom this week to receive training from the Alabama Department of Education. In the next few months, these leadership teams will train other teachers to implement project-based learning into their classrooms.

"We are delighted that Decatur City took the lead statewide," said Shannon Parks with the Alabama Department of Education. "We've had a lot of districts since then that have asked to do this pilot but Decatur City was selected early on because we know that they are going to make this a success."

Project-based learning is a new, innovative teaching method focusing on problem solving skills, team work, and communication.

"It's a whole way of teaching so that now students take control of their learning and that they work on real-life projects," said Decatur City Schools Supervisor of Curriculum Jeanne Payne.

The program gets away from the days of students sitting in rows and facing the teacher. Instead it uses group research and critical thinking to help students retain information.

"It's not about memorizing things anymore but it's actually looking at a problem and having the skills to solve that problem and to communicate the solution to other people," said Payne.

Parks said now students in the pilot program will team up and use technology to research a real-life problem, work together to find a solution and present it to the class and even the community.

"These will result in actual community projects that will enrich Decatur," said Parks.

And Payne said the ultimate goal of the program is to prepare students to use those problem solving skills in whatever career path they choose.

"We just fell like this is the way education is going and that it's a real game changer and a real gain for our students," said Payne.

The program will be implemented next school year at Austin High School, Brookhaven Middle School, West Decatur Elementary, Leon Sheffield Elementary and Chestnut Grove Elementary.

If the program is successful in Decatur, project-based learning could be the future of education through out the state.


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