Hammonds Plains teacher earns kudos for project-based teaching style

A teacher in Hammonds Plains who tosses textbooks aside for project-based classes is getting kudos from his students and administration.

'We get to create things,' says student Adora Leduc about Greg Doyle's classroom

Greg Doyle teaches his students how to make movies with the green screen on an iPad. His goal is to make his class speak French without the traditional lessons. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

A teacher in Hammonds Plains who tosses textbooks aside for project-based classes is getting kudos from his students and administration.

In Greg Doyle's Grade 7 classroom at Madeline Symonds Middle School, you'll rarely find the kids in their seats.

"My class is basically 90 per cent project based," he said. "I'm not an old-school teacher who takes out a textbook and we sit down and read it. We're always engaged in a project."

Doyle has a master's degree in technology, so he tries to integrate the newest apps and devices into his everyday classes. He says by keeping the kids on their feet, it almost tricks them out of thinking they're learning.

"They're definitely much more engaged," he said. "They want to learn, and really there's a hidden message in most of the lessons that they don't know."

Creating stop-motion films

For example, before the winter break, his French class was divided into groups and asked to write stories. They then made clay characters and used iPads to create stop-motion films. They did this while practicing their French in ways they could apply in real life.

"It gives them the motivation ... to want to learn how to speak French," said Doyle.

His approach is resonating with students.

Grade 7 teacher Greg Doyle makes sure all of his lessons get students out of their seats and learning in unconventional ways. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

"Usually in other classes I've been in, we just sit down and write things, but here we get to create things," said 12-year-old Adora Leduc.

"You feel more included in it and involved," said Ryan Trenholm. "It's a lot more fun, so we want to come to school more."

Doyle recently added a green screen to the classroom for students to act out their work. He also uses augmented reality to teach his social studies classes, for instance using a tablet to scan a photograph which is then brought to life with a video.

School staffers are taking notice

The administrators at the school say they'd love to see more of this style of learning. Doyle says other teachers in the school are starting to take notice of how engaged the students are and they're asking questions.

"I'm hoping it's rubbing off on them," Doyle said.

He says teachers are going to have to eventually learn this technology.

"So, why not start now?" Doyle said.


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