I'm the Aug 1st kickoff speaker for the 2011 PBL Summer Institute held at the Valley New School in downtown Appleton WI. As the opening keynote, I'll be setting the stage for what should be five days of valuable workshops, culminating in Project Foundry training - an effective PBL management system. Tweet us at #VNS11 and view our Twitter visualizer here.
To get things started I'll highlight five reasons why the traditional approach to instruction is failing our students:
- Teaching isn't telling.
- There's a new literacy that alters the traditional information flow beyond the classroom.
- Life's become an open-book test that has devalued lower-order thinking skills.
- Students need to be able to succeed in an unpredictable world.
- Most classrooms rarely engage students in reflecting on their progress as learners.
Along the way I'll use activities and sample projects to illustrate five reasons to "like" PBL. Click here for a link to my presentation website with a variety of PBL resources, videos and more.
The conference is co-sponsored by the TAGOS Leadership Academy and the Wisconsin Project Based Learning Network.
Image credit: flickr/FindYourSearch
Let’s look at a school where the concept of hope is front and center. At Northwest Passage High School (NWPHS) the mission of the school is simple: Rekindling our hope, exploring our world, seeking our path, while building our community. Each fall new students to our school complete the Hope Survey for new students, and each spring every student completes the ongoing Hope Survey. The survey measures student engagement, academic press, goal orientation, belongingness, and autonomy.
In the coming weeks, schools across the country will reopen. I feel badly for the many teachers and students who will return to the grueling routine of test-prep. Perhaps they have convinced themselves that the foundation of teaching is to tell students something they did not previously know. As Donald Finkel has described it – teaching as telling.
While NCLB began with the admirable goal of narrowing demographic performance gaps and putting an end to sorting kids on the “bell curve,” because of it’s myopic reliance on standardized (we don’t trust teachers) testing – it has failed. And the great irony is that while our students spend endless hours honing their test taking skills, the demand for routine skills has disappeared from the workplace. Anyone know of a meaningful and rewarding career that looks like filling out a worksheet?
The testing regime is turning our kids into a high-yield, uniform commodity. Rows and rows of competent, standardized students, that can be delivered according to employers’ specifications for a “skilled workforce.” Children “force fed” in test prep programs in efforts to quickly “fatten” the scores to meet AYP. Like the cornfields and feedlots that are disconnected from local ecosystems, the movement toward national educational standards erodes at local control and innovation.
The testing regime is turning our kids into a high-yield, uniform commodity. Rows and rows of competent, standardized students, that can be delivered according to employers’ specifications for a “skilled workforce.” Children “force fed” in test prep programs in efforts to quickly “fatten” the scores to meet AYP.
I’m an advocate of project based learning (PBL) because students grow when they are actively involved in tasks that give them choices in product, process and evaluation. Throughout my teaching career, I looked for ways to shift responsibility for learning to the the student by designing academic experiences that provoked authentic student reflection. Unfortunately, I [...]