Saturday, December 13, 2008

PBL and life-long learning

Elona Hartjes at Teacher's At Risk, writes about Project based learning.

She begins with a search for 21st century and citizenship skills (which she mentions are one and the same.) She quotes these skills as:

1. Problem-solving and critical thinking;
2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence;
3. Agility and adaptability;
4. Initiative and entrepreneurship;
5. Effective written and oral communication;
6. Accessing and analyzing information; and
7. Curiosity and imagination.

Her last question as she integrates project-based learning in her math class and the push back by the students is this: Do some of their students prefer work sheet to projects?

I answered her with the following:
My upper level students are not as fond of pbl activities. They would rather have worksheets as they are good at them and they can get high grades. The workload now is less (we needed lots of worksheets to make it academic) but now the thinking required is more difficult. My lower students do not like worksheets, they ask great questions, but need motivated to keep going to find answers. I am interested in how your lower level students progress in a pbl classroom.

I still believe strongly in PBL as in the past I have realized that worksheets and lectures were not increasing student learning. Without solid support, this change is difficult. I have always embraced change and rarely chuck it because of slight pressure. I am not going back now and further cements my thoughts towards next steps in the future.

We will not be able to create life-long learners if the community of the school as well as the external community is not one themselves.

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