When I start a new idea, I need a bird’s-eye view. I want something that gives me an overview so I can start to grasp what it’s about before learning how to implement it. That’s what I found in this page. It’s short and sweet, but it explains what PBL is and why it’s important. It even outlines the steps needed for a PBL project.
I was skeptical of PBL when it was first announced. (Of course, the first announcement was gossip and unofficial channels.) I needed to know fast if this was something that would actually help students. If so, I needed something to show parents -- they would ask me before the principal. That’s where this scholarly article came in handy. It proves (not shows, proves) that PBL increases student engagement. Armed with that knowledge, I went into the program with confidence. This actually works.
Sure enough, parents began asking me if this would help their children in school. That’s a great question, actually. I had a scholarly research paper, but that was too dense for some families. So I copied excerpts from this page (with citations, of course) to help explain why PBL works. But then I found a section on what it takes to teach with PBL near the bottom. That helped me.
The shift from teaching as keeper of knowledge to more a mentor/coach role under PBL isn’t always smooth. I feared PBL would decrease student engagement. Thankfully, the opening article of this newsletter put me at ease. It clearly discussed problems teachers have with adjusting to PBL and how to move past them. Knowing the difference between activities and projects alone was helpful.
When we pushed PBL at our school, our administrators were actually very good. They spent a lot of time “selling” the program to teachers first and then moved into the nuts and bolts. A colleague showed me this site, and I’m so grateful she did. It quickly and easily showed what a project would look like in this context.