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PBL: What is it? Why I love it!

Cover Image for PBL: What is it? Why I love it!
Loretta Anderson
Loretta Anderson
  • My Project Based Learning Journey

So I have ALWAYS wanted to be a teacher! I know not all teachers found themselves as 12 year old kids yearning to sit in the teacher's desk. But I did! I couldn't wait to get my hand on those teacher manuals!

When I finally got into the classroom, in charge of my own class, I was thrilled. These students were in my care and I was responsible for their education (at least for that year). I must say when I first started teaching, I did things EXACTLY as I was taught in college and from my teacher mentors. I figured they knew what they were doing so I would just do what they did. And for my early teaching years, that worked well but as the years passed, I learned new techniques and my teaching style continued to change and be molded.

Then in 2018, I was introduced into project based learning and something in my teaching changed. My excitement for teaching took on a whole new level! And not only was I more excited, I saw an excitement for learning in my students that I had never experienced before. That year, our school hired a new principal and vice principal/ high school teacher who were both PBL people! So it only made sense that they would pass on their knowledge of PBL to the staff at our school. I must say that I when I learned the basics of PBL, I was skeptical. However, when I actually got into the classroom and did my first project, I was whole heartily convinced! What I love most about PBL is how authentic it is. It brings learning to a higher level and motivation. The kids are excited to work on their project and do their very best work because the project serves a purpose. As a teacher, I get to see my students excited to learn and then, I'm right there with them beaming and excited for them!

So you may be wondering, "What exactly is PBL?" I will do my best to explain but you really have to get in the classroom and try it out. PBL is, of course short for Project Based Learning. The students work on a project as they are learning. This project could be anything from creating a book to building a model bridge. We call this BEAUTIFUL WORK. The students learn and their learning is demonstrated in the project. Ideally, the project is for someone or a group of people who will benefit from that project. This makes the learning more authentic. It could be for a group in the school community or in the greater community. PBL starts with an overall question called a Driving Question and from there the students come up with all the things they need to know to answer this question (this is basically the outcomes of your teaching). The project usually is being worked on as the teacher teaches the students. Often, you will also get experts in the field you are studying to assist in the learning.

There are many more elements to PBL and really, the best way to learn more about it is to experience it. I will help you do that as my hope for this blog is to share my projects and more PBL elements with you and help inspire you in your classroom. Stay tuned for my next post where I will explain my very first PBL experience!

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