Monday, October 29, 2007

See yourself in this picture?

Educators participating in our ISTE webinar last week had no trouble describing the qualities of teachers who embrace project-based learning. A few samples: innovative, willing to take chances, not afraid to give up control in the classroom, flexible, respectful of students, collaborative, high energy, open to possibility, not afraid of new adventures. Combined with their energy and optimism, PBL teachers also have a solid understanding of how students learn. As our participants pointed out, they prefer a multidisciplinary approach, encourage student dialogue, facilitate hands-on learning, and know that kids have to be engaged to learn. A certain feistiness also came through loud and clear. As one participant put it, "We're willing to fight for what our students need--including technology."


samccoy said...

Yes, I do see myself in this picture! Projects are the essence of my teaching soul. I am looking forward to seeing the new book, and I was wondering: "Do principals, curriculum coordinators and other administrators who support and buy into Project-Based Learning see themselves in this picture?" It seems to me that most of these characteristics are anathema for the regulated flow of the school that administrators seem to strive. What does the supportive administrator look like? What does the supportive administrator sound like?

Suzie Boss said...

Great question! Administrative support is essential for project-based learning to succeed. Especially when teachers are pushing the boundaries of the classroom with technology or getting their students to engage with the larger community on real-world projects, it's critical that administrators "get it." To help show what this looks like, we showcase some forward-thinking school leaders in the December issue of Principal Leadership (and highlight more in the book). We also offer some suggestions for how administrators can help remove barriers to PBL. One of the keys seems to be creating a culture of collaboration, where teachers and school leaders are learning along with students. When that's the case, teachers with innovative project ideas don't have to stay "under the radar," hoping no one shuts them down.

Anonymous said...

Jane, any chance you could Skype with a group of teachers tonight on about your book? Session starts at 6:00 pst.