Continuing the 15 mistakes of the PBL classroom, this week’s post is about treating all teachers as if they’re the same, with the same needs.
I have the best job in the world. On a regular basis, I’m given the extraordinary fortune to talk with teachers who are embarking on a PBL journey with their students. To dig into the smaller, everyday details of how to make this type of learning environment work. To answer the tough questions about sustainability, rigor, behavior management and then take the questioner further…that’s like chocolate to me! I can’t get enough.
In the next month or so, I’ll be publishing a regular series to include 15 common mistakes that educators make and some solutions they might consider. Here’s the next one in the series:
Problem: Currently, we feel that in order to be “fair,” all teachers need to be treated the same, when in actuality, there are very few teachers who have the same ability, experiences, or skills as others in the school. Likewise, their curriculum requirements are likely vastly different, especially as they begin to move toward applying the lessons of their content into real-world applications. Likewise, personally, everyone is traveling their own journey many of us know nothing about and teachers are no different.
Solution: Professional learning is best offered as personalized learning where a teacher has a great deal to say about what s/he learns to continue growing professionally. If teachers teach how they are taught, then leaders must support teachers as learners and our professional learning environments will mimic, appropriately, the modern learning environments in our classrooms. Pacing will be varied, as will the topics, and access to information and support.
Want to learn more about Project/Problem Based Learning and how to support it?
- Check out Edutopia’s annotated bibliography for PBL research
- The Buck Institute for Education has also collected a terrific bank of PBL research
In 2006 with 12 years of traditional classroom experience and 2 days of formal PBL training in her pocket, Ginger Lewman started a middle school, grades 5-8, that was a 1:1 laptop and Project Based Learning environment. Five years later, the middle school had doubled in population twice and had expanded to include PBL in grades K-8. They were also in the process of opening a PBL high school the next fall. Ginger now works with school leaders in helping them learn how to support the PBL shift, and inspires their teachers to take the leap. Meanwhile, she also continues to co-teach with K-12 teachers in the training process, keeping her own teaching chops sharp and ready.