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Should project management be taught in schools?

Psoda blog author avatar
10 July 2018

When I was at school (a long time ago, in a land far, far away) we were often given team projects to run over the term and ended up with a presentation of some sort. No-one gave us any instructions on how to set up these projects or what the best way was to run them. Although it was fun, this led to some interesting twists and turns along the way.
Things have moved on since I was at school, but project management still doesn’t seem to be a regular feature on the curriculum in many schools.
In my opinion, this is a lost opportunity. Project management is an essential life skill that should be taught as early as possible.

Project management teaches us:

  • Problem solving
  • Time management
  • Money management
  • Team work
  • Leadership
  • How to communicate with different people
  • How to influence people
  • How to follow a logical process

Schools don’t need to worry about having another item to the curriculum. Project management can be taught organically throughout the year.

A practical example using a school project

A great way to teach project management is to do it as part of another topic, for example as part of a term’s science project:
The teacher will divide the class into teams and assign each team an experiment.
The team needs to decide who the team lead is (team work, leadership, communication, influencing others).
They then need to work out how they will run the experiment (problem solving, team work, communication).
Once the team has the plan, they need to calculate how much it will cost, where they will get the money and how it will be split (money management, team work, communication, time management).
Once they are ready to run the experiment, the tasks need to be divided up and allocated to individual team members by the team leader (leadership, time management, communication, influencing others).
The team leader is responsible for making sure all the work is done in the right order and that the results are collated properly (leadership, time management, following a process, communication).
Once the experiment is complete, the team will prepare and present a summary to the rest of the class (communication).
As you can see from the example above, it’s really easy to slip project management training into another topic. This means the principles can be reinforced during every group activity throughout the year.
The great thing about project management is that these skills can be used by children in all aspects of their lives. By teaching them early, you are setting them up to be more successful in both school and home.

Psoda plug

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Rhona Aylward avatar
Written by Rhona Aylward
Rhona is Deputy Everything Officer at Psoda, where she does everything except code. After starting life as a microbiologist she moved into PMO leadership roles around the world before settling in New Zealand with her family.

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