PBL: Place-based learning…could we…would we

I continue to be intrigued by LAL’s comment in PLC-F of how does my subject/discipline serve the problem rather than how does the “problem” serve my subject/discipline.

PBL offers students the opportunity to problem-find and problem solve.  Our Learning for Life vision statement calls for essential skill:  problem-find & problem solve, communicate & collaborate, create & innovate, reflect & revise, and serve & lead.  How are we teaching our young learners these essential skills?  Are we?  Do they ever get in the game?  I feel that our Learning for Life vision declares PBL as an essential action to press, push, prod our lead learners to help our young learners “get in the game.” You have to practice being life-long learners who serve and lead in a changing world.  You have to model being life-long learners who serve and lead in a changing world.

Kiran bir Sethi calls for blurring the lines between school and home. Learning is everywhere.  Why should the learning that takes place in school be different than the learning outside of school?

If we truly want to grow life-long learners, then we must allow our learners to be problem finders and problem solvers.  We should not assume that they will naturally know how to do this if we “fill them” with content and skills.  PBL offers our learners the opportunity to contribute, to apply their base-knowledge, to team with others to analyze, strategize, and act WITH guidance, coaching, and feedback.  How many of us would benefit from guidance, coaching, and feedback when faced with opportunities?

I also believe that PBL is an essential action because Integrated Studies is an essential action.  How many learners connect

  • what they are learning between their subjects/studies,
  • content and relationships,

How many faculty?

Perhaps PBL is one of the essential actions to create a larger learning community of adults at school.  How are we connected to each other? How do we problem-find, problem solve, reflect and revise, etc, as learners?  How are we connected via content and relationship to serve and lead as we grow life-long learners?

Learning does not happen in compartments.  Think about a child’s day at school.   Hour 1 – math, Hour 2 – English, Hour 3 – Science, Lunch, Hour 4 – PE (thank God, I get to go outside), Hour 5 – Language, and Hour 6 – History or Bible.  Are these connected learning experiences or does the learner have to code switch every hour?  How do we as teachers feel about changing preps every hour?


Imagine picking a spot on campus….

Imagine picking a spot on campus and focusing learning on that spot…

Imagine picking a spot on campus and focusing learning on that spot for an entire day…

Could we…would we use one class period – one time slot of 55 minutes – to investigate what could be learned from our place?

Could we…would we discover integrated studies and learning by taking action to plan this investigation as an interdisciplinary team?

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