A pedagogical project is a proposal for a lesson plan submitted by a student preparing to become a teacher. It focuses on a specific teaching unit which may vary in length from a single class session to a project that spans multiple sessions or a field trip. The finished project showcases the student’s ability to prepare a coherent and appropriate education plan that includes clearly outlined goals and measures to determine the outcome. Teachers may be asked to include pedagogical projects in portfolios for review by prospective employers, and they are also used in teaching education to help people identify weaknesses and address them.
Format of a pedagogical project varies, but it typically starts with a brief outline of the goals for the project, followed by a discussion of how those goals will be accomplished. For example, a teacher may want to create a unit for fourth grade students to learn about Native Americans. The methods might include watching videos, reading documents, and making crafts while discussing Native American history and culture. Goals should be clearly measurable; the teacher may want students to be able to name at least five tribes, for example, or to be able to recite five key dates in Native American history.
Some pedagogical projects also include a rationale, in which the teacher explains the methodology used. This can include a discussion of different approaches and criticisms of those approaches to show why the teacher chose a particular angle. Rationale can also include a statement of bias that may have influenced pedagogical decisions; for example, the author might prefer a particular method after seeing it in action with actual students.
Completed pedagogical projects can provide information about how a teacher would approach a unit on a particular subject, accompanied by criticism to deconstruct the methods used and address alternative options. The rationale section of a pedagogical project can also provide space to discuss how the teacher might adapt the pedagogical project to meet the needs of students with particular needs, like disabled or multilingual students. Cultural sensitivity can also be a concern in some cases; for example, in schools with a very diverse student body.
In teacher education, instructors may grade a pedagogical project, and it can also be workshopped by the class. Other teachers in training can offer feedback and their own thoughts. Critique encourages teachers to think critically about the work of others as well of their own, and it can help them develop strengths they can use in the design of future projects. A robust discussion about the flaws of a particular educational method, for example, may be incorporated into rationale sections on future projects.