For many teachers, PBL is a very different way of facilitating learning, where kids are identifying a real-world problem and developing its solution. It’s an incredibly powerful, effective, and cross-curricular way for kids to learn. But it’s not always simple to plan, and manage, and assess, so we’re going to talk about some practical teaching strategies.
We’re also going to look at how to address some of the pitfalls that students face. PBL is incredibly rigorous, or should be, and we all know that kids aren’t always excited about rigor and working hard--they can’t just pass a test at the end of the unit and be done. With PBL, kids show what they learn as they journey through the unit, interact with its lessons, collaborate with each other, and assess themselves and each other. It’s pretty complex stuff. It’s a tough juxtaposition with the “fill in the bubble” standardized testing mentality that most are expected to juggle simultaneously.
I have two guests on the show today to help us explore these issues--they are the co-authors of the new book Hacking Project Based Learning: 10 Easy Steps to PBL and Inquiry in the Classroom. You’ll hear from Erin Murphy, who is an assistant principal and certified literacy specialist in the East Penn School District in Pennsylvania, and Ross Cooper, who is the Supervisor of Instructional Practice K-12 in the Salisbury Township School District in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Erin and Ross are passionate about inquiry-based learning and have supported countless teachers in implementing it, through not only their school-based work but also through the PD and workshops they conduct. I’m really excited to have them here to help us move past the jargon and buzzwords, and talk about the realities on doing PBL with kids.