I have been spending the past two days working with regional colleagues on Project Based Learning (PBL) following the Buck Institute Model. In wrestling with how to work with teachers around this model, I noticed that PBL also matched the Collegial Circles that I have written about previously.
The seven essential features of a "good" project are as follows:
1. Driving Question and a Challenge
2. Need to Know
3. Inquiry and Innovation
4. 21st Century Skills
5. Student Voice and Choice
6. Feedback and Revision
7. Public Presentation
In looking through the list, I realize that this is the exact process that the teachers go through when developing their focus and plan for learning. What is really intriguing to me is the "need to know" piece. This isn't what content is needed, but the fact that what you are investigating is a real need to know (hoping you can hear the emphasis in my voice!) Meaning you want to learn about it.
Two more districts that I know of are moving towards this model for professional development - which captures the passion of teachers and for me, honors them as professionals.
In the training, we have been wrestling with how to move "traditional" teachers to use the tools in their toolbox and embrace project based learning - at least a few times a year. This model captures the passion of students and for me, honors them as learners.
Maybe if we set the model up for teachers, they will be comfortable with it in the classroom.