What is a project week ?/ How to organize a project week:
According to the German Dictionary Duden a project week is a “week of teaching that allows students to work in separate groups on a interdisciplinary project”.
Most schools hosts a project week often before a break every two years, some even yearly. The students have the opportunity to rank the offered projects according to their preferences. Most schools allow the students to chose three favorite projects of which they are then assigned one. In doing this schools try to meet the preferences of the student.
The offered projects vary from school to school. Most schools decide for an overall topic (i.e. Europe) and teachers, students, parents and/or companies have then the possibility to propose ideas for projects they would like to run. The projects can be open to all grades or be limited to a certain age group. During a project week students and teachers have the possibility to pursue personal interests that are not directly connected to the school routine. The project offer can range from sporting, music, technical, artistic, linguistic activities to cultural or culinary project foci. The following criteria can be useful to examine proposed projects:
- Reference to the overall topic
- The project enables the students to work independently
- The project promotes group work and fosters the students’ ability to work in teams
- The project enables the absorption of subject matters
- The project facilitates interdisciplinary thinking
- The project is based in extracurricular surroundings
Project oriented teaching and learning – including a project week – is based on the principles of student, action and product orientation, multidisciplinary, process orientation and the self-government of the student and a holistic approach to learning. The goal is to create an inspiring learning environment for the students. According the constructivist learning theory this will enable them to require new knowledge by building on existing knowledge.
The outcomes of the projects will not be graded. Oftentimes, the results of the projects are presented to the whole school body in the end of the project week. Some schools incorporate the presentations into the schedule of the annual school party and invite parents, siblings etc. to the presentations.