Monday, May 4, 2009

PBL Buzz

Wayne D'Orio's article ("The Power of Project Learning") in the May issue of Scholastic Administrator takes a good look at the current PBL landscape and pushes readers to consider why more educators aren't using this real-world approach. One theory: PBL may be too hard for teachers to tackle without support. In a Q&A at the end, Chris Lehmann of Science Leadership Academy explains how schoolwide systems (for everything from planning to assessment to technology integration) set the stage for project success at his Philadelphia school. No arguing with that, but I continue to be impressed by creative types like Terry Smith (also quoted) who are determined to make PBL work, despite the obstacles. Seems to be a mixed landscape at the moment, with some excellent schoolwide models and some islands of innovation.
I'd be eager to hear more reflections from PBL advocates. What helps you move forward with this approach? What gets in your way? What more can we do as a community to advocate for what you need to succeed?

1 comment:

Louise Maine said...

On one hand you need support. Innovation is not always welcome in some small conservative towns. They are used to education as they know it. Without more actually doing it and making a statement, it is not an easily accepted. At the high school level, some subjects make it difficult to be sure all the concepts are taught (we are held accountable). Some topics make it difficult and the courses themselves are content heavy. I think there are many questions we need to ask and answer which will help determine what we really need students to know and do. In some current structures, true PBL is hard to achieve (that does not mean I have stopped looking at ways to shake it up.)