Time flies when…you have kids. Is it always fun, no, but from a project management perspective it’s the most rewarding project you could ever hope to work on. That was one of the thoughts that passed through my head while sitting nearly four hours at my daughter Emily’s high-school graduation (along with the rightful feelings of joy, pride and admiration for the completion of one of life’s significant projects).
I thought back on the lyrics from the 1985 remake “Greatest Love of All”. In it, Whitney Houston sings “I believe the children are the future. Teach them well and let them lead the way”. I am very thankful for the role that teachers and other faculty administrators play in shaping the lives of our youth and am proud to have provided schools with a means to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s challenges through the PM4Youth (PM4Y™) program. It’s hard to believe that it was seven years ago when my graduate came to me as a wide-eyed 5th grader and asked me why she had to learn the state capitals and why she couldn’t just look them up on Google.
That got me to thinking, “Are we teaching our students the right skills to help them in their next phase in life and what exactly are the right skills”. As an educator to adults in Project Management, I frequently taught principles and best practices in areas such as Leadership, Professionalism, Critical Thinking, and Teamwork. Unfortunately, you rarely find these subjects taught in school. I wondered if the same skills that I was teaching to adults could also be taught to students and so began the journey to create the PM4Y™ program, a hands-on, Project Based Learning curriculum.
Through Project Based Learning (PBL) students work in teams to experience and explore relevant, real-world problems, questions, issues, and challenges; then create presentations and products to share what they have learned. Instead of the traditional function of a teacher, in PBL, the teacher’s role is as a coach, facilitator, guide, advisor and mentor, not directing and managing all student work. The teacher’s role is also one of project designer, developer, architect and planner, creating and designing important parts of the project learning experience. PBL offers students what they cannot find or arrange as readily elsewhere–opportunities to collaborate with peers and subject-matter experts on interesting projects, making a difference in one’s community and learning valuable and transferable skills.
Even though our national educational system has some stellar teachers, they aren’t immediately and intuitively great project managers or PM instructors. Teachers were clamoring for bringing the fresh, new ideas of Project Based Learning (PBL) into their classrooms but soon found that the tools in their well-established toolkit were not adequate to convey the fundamental project management concepts and best practices that are needed to make Project Based Learning successful.
The FREE PM4Y™ program aids teachers in facilitating Project Based Learning skills through proven, relatable exercises, well-defined lesson plans, helpful hints, terminology explanation, scenario setups and module debriefs. In other words, it creates the bridge between PBL and the sometimes confusing, and dare I say, less than exciting concepts found in the Project Management Institute’s 978 page Project Management Body of Knowledge – 6 (PMBOK).
Instead of teaching from a book or putting lessons up on a whiteboard, PM4Y™’s fifteen, hour long modules give teachers hands on exercises that relay and reinforce the same project management concepts that are being utilized daily by businesses across the globe. Instead of administering tests to gauge memorization abilities, teachers will witness students applying what they learn back into the real world, where success and failure are measured by more than “A’s” and “F’s” or things that can easily be “Googled”.
Let’s arm our students with the right knowledge and skills that they need to be successful in a fast approaching future. As a parent, I know her mom and I have prepared Emily to be successful in the next stage of her life and with her having been a student of the PM4Y™ program, I know that journey will be made easier.
For more information on the PM4Y™ program, send an email to ContactUs@arrowheadconsulting.com