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Meghan Cureton

Q: What's the Right Dosage of PBL?        A: Not Once Per Year | Blog | Proje... - 2 views

  • Does adopting PBL mean we should use it all the time and teach everything via projects? If not, then how many projects should teachers do per semester or year?
  • Project Based Teaching Practices are actually just good teaching, period, and many of the practices can be used in the classroom when students are in between projects.
  • “Just make two high-quality projects per year for every student be the goal.” In a K-12 system, that means each student would experience 26 projects at a minimum—which sounds like a lot! But that’s only the start. Perhaps students in middle and high school, at first, would experience two projects per year in one subject area—if, say, only social studies teachers begin to use PBL. But assuming PBL spreads across the school, students would do projects in other subject areas, or do interdisciplinary projects, and eventually experience many more than 26 projects if they stayed in one K-12 PBL-infused system.
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  • But assuming projects are between 3-6 weeks long, I’d like to see a minimum of two projects per year in every K-12 classroom, in all subject areas—so that all students, no matter who they are, can gain the benefits of high quality PBL.
  • Even better, make it one project per quarter—four per year. And while you’re at it, sprinkle in a few mini-projects to help build a PBL culture or tackle a relatively confined topic or task.
  • Why is the PBL dosage important?
  • Students cannot build 21st century success skills if they only get occasional opportunities to practice and internalize them.
  • Students will become more confident, independent learners—even identifying and tackling problems authentic to themselves, their communities, and the wider world.
  • be part of a culture that celebrates risk-taking and innovation.
  • If only a few scattered teachers use PBL in a school or district, or only a few students experience it and thus limit demand, then the system’s basic structures, policies, and culture will remain the same. But if a critical mass is reached, schools and districts will need to rethink the use of time, teacher workloads, community relationships, assessment systems, decision-making processes, and much more. Here’s to reaching the PBL tipping point!
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