15 Common PBL Mistakes | mistake #4: don't fund the shift
I have the best job in the world. On a regular basis, I’m given the extraordinary fortune to talk with teachers who are embarking on a PBL journey with their students. To dig into the smaller, everyday details of how to make this type of learning environment work. To answer the tough questions about sustainability, rigor, behavior management and then take the questioner further…that’s like chocolate to me! I can’t get enough.
Over the years of starting my own PBL school and learning in a baptismal fire, I’ve been able to find a way to talk with new or reluctant teachers about their concerns. Additionally, there are things that excited, energetic teachers might want to consider as they take their first steps into the PBL fire as well.
In the next month or so, I’ll be publishing a regular series to include 15 common mistakes that educators make and some solutions they might consider. Here’s the next one in the series:
Problem: PBL doesn’t necessarily cost more than traditional learning, especially if we take textbooks and printed worksheets out of the equation. However, if a school is still funding those traditional approaches for learning, it might look like PBL (and it’s hands-on products) has a hefty price tag.
Solution: Money is a scarce resource in all schools. However, each school has the opportunity to make decisions to fund what they need to grow. Creativity, an open mind, and staying transparent with your school community about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it are the keys to funding new and innovative initiatives. How much are you spending per year on printing supplies? On textbooks? On good quality professional learning to help teachers shift their thinking and practices?
Want to learn more about Project/Problem Based Learning?
- Check out Edutopia’s annotated bibliography for PBL research
- The Buck Institute for Education has also collected a terrific bank of PBL research
In 2006 with 12 years of traditional classroom experience and 2 days of formal PBL training in her pocket, Ginger Lewman started a middle school, grades 5-8, that was a 1:1 laptop and Project Based Learning environment. Five years later, the middle school had doubled in population twice and had expanded to include PBL in grades K-8. They were also in the process of opening a PBL high school the next fall. Ginger now works with school leaders in helping them learn how to support the PBL shift, and inspires their teachers to take the leap. Meanwhile, she also continues to co-teach with K-12 teachers in the training process, keeping her own teaching chops sharp and ready.