Why PBL?

This year, I’m leading a group of teachers in our school who want to learn about project-based learning. I thought my goal was simple – to familarize teachers with the fundomentals of PBL and to help them develop and implement first projects. During our first meeting, however, I discovered my biggest challenge. No teacher would give it a try unless I demonstrated clear connections bewtween PBL  and best teaching practices. I had to demolish the myth about PBL being something we don’t have time for in a classroom, a belief that is well fed on the pressure to cover all standards on time. I wanted to prove that PBL would cover and uncover standards in a timely manner and allow studetns to experience their depth in an engaging and relevant way.

Since most of our staff  read the book, I decided to build my case on  “Focus” by Mike Schmoker. I needed to connect the three essentials described by the author with the three pillars of PBL. According to Schmoker, the three elements of effective teaching are:

  • What We Teach – a coherent curriculum with “power standards”
  • How We Teach – all students must learn each segment of each lesson before moving on to the next one; scaffolding and differentiation
  • Authentic Literacy – purposeful, usually argumentative, reading, writing, and talking (Schmoker, 2011)

Critical thinking, collaboration, and communication in PBL are perfectly parallel with Schmoker’s teaching essentials. PBL may be a different way of teaching, but it is effective in every way. It creates classrooms full of deep thinkers and independent learners.  Finding such connections helped me win teachers over. They took a risk and  stepped forward with a very much doable approach – PBL.

This is the prezi presentation I used with my group to discuss connections between the essentials described by Schmoker and PBL. I thank all my colleagues for the wonderful discussion we had!

6 thoughts on “Why PBL?

  1. What was the video that you have in the prezi? It isn’t starting up and I love your presentation! Looking for inspiration because I am going to lead teachers into PBL, too!

  2. Very interesting article and thoughts about PBL from you, Alena. I look forward to doing more PBL projects with my students and hopefully being able to participate in BYOT next year. I have never heard of “prezi” before, but looked at your prezi presentation and saw another great way to present and collaborate with colleagues…really cool. Thank you for all the great teaching you’re doing!

    • I actually wtenad to develop a quick message to appreciate you for these lovely advice you are giving out at this site. My rather long internet investigation has now been paid with wonderful facts and strategies to go over with my good friends. I would admit that most of us visitors are unquestionably endowed to exist in a remarkable site with very many brilliant people with beneficial tricks. I feel really privileged to have used your website page and look forward to plenty of more amazing moments reading here. Thank you again for all the details.

      • Thank you. I’m glad that you found this post helpful. There are so many good things going on in our school, and I am lucky to be a part of it.

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