How do we utilize PBL as an instructional approach to meet the content and skill demands of the 21st Century across a school system?
With the advent of the Common Core, the results of PISA, and the natural “curb appeal” of project based learning, there is no doubt an exponential interest amongst teachers and administrations in the utilization of such a methodology. Let’s be clear, PBL is not enrichment to the existing curriculum or additional opportunities at the end of a unit of instruction. PBL is considered the primary methodology to support a student’s learning of core content knowledge and skill through the solving of a problem or series of problems.
In project-enriched classrooms, teachers introduce projects at the end of the instructional sequence. In essence, teachers teach content to students, directing the entire process and at the end require students to showcase the knowledge through some level of synthesis. In essence, students “do projects” to demonstrate understanding rather than cultivate understanding “through projects”. The Buck Institute of Education contrasts project-based learning as the “entrée” and project enriched learning as the “desert” For those who want to create a series of “entrees” across an educational system, here are a few design principles to consider: