For the next period of time, I want use this blog to reflect on some of these unsaid, glossed-over, invisible things. I do this in part as a way to think through some aspects of my dissertation, in part as a way to reflect on the course I just finished teaching, and in part because, well, aren't we supposed to feed the Commons? (Is that Howard Rheingold's phrasing?) IOW, if I have experience that might benefit another educator, let me put it out there.
In the challenge program I mentioned above, I developed and taught the Language Arts 'curriculum' that wove through the different segments of the program, including backpacking, extensive community service projects, and long-term career internships. Other colleagues focused on Social Studies and Environmental Science, as well as related electives. Together my colleagues and I co-planned the experiential aspects of the program and facilitated the students' processes through them. We were guided by our beliefs, and others', that when students confronted and had to work through challenges, they would develop the confidence and dispositions with which to build meaningful adult lives.
|Adirondack Mountains 2003|
Me, I asked them to write. A lot. All the time. On mountain-tops, on the job, in a class meeting. We wrote, shared our writing, wrote some more.
Through each experience, we asked students to set personal goals and reflect on what they had done to achieve them, as well as to work through the barriers in their own thinking that had held them back. "You can do more than you think you can" was like a mantra humming in the background of everything we did. And the students could, and often did.
For that matter, so did we. Because in any project-based learning experience, everybody is a learner. And that can be a very humbling experience for a teacher.
watch it by emdot used via Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 2.0
Adirondack Mountains 2003 by Karen LaBonte
A few PBL-related resources that splashed across my Twitter stream:
- Edutopia's Project-Based Learning: Success Start to Finish;
- Ginger Lewman's 12 Ways to Know if You’re in a Project-Based Learning Environment or Merely Having Kids Create Projects in Your Classroom
- Ginger's PBL Diigo links
- Ginger's Scoop.it collection, Project Based Learning; a recipe for LifePractice
- Peter Skillen's PBL: Am I Doing it Right?