Because we are doing inquiry or PBL (passion-based learning) this year, my students have asked more questions than they ever have before in my classroom. Both the students and I are still learning about this process, but I like this shift. The person who asks the questions is in charge of the learning, and I want my grade one kids to be in charge of their own learning.
PBL is a construct made up by human beings — there are lots of variations! And you are entitled to construct your own version within some parameters. Study many of the great resources that are available to you and then create your own working definition and effective PBL practice. And consider our Continua Frame. We like to think with it, rather than dichotomies, simply because things are rarely on or off, black or white, ones or zeroes!
As an educator I want my students and their families to be a part of our daily learning. When this is encouraged, parents feel welcomed to engage. Through our ability to model this and offer invitations to extend learning outside of our classrooms parents begin to work alongside us, the teachers who are working hard each day to make a difference for all of our students.
Teacher and PBL consultant Shelley Wright offers her first draft of a Slow Education manifesto and urges other educators to end the McDonaldization of schools by joining in the effort. “Itâ€™s the very philosophy we need to save our education system.”
I believed that being new meant I had to follow someone elseâ€™s advice for the first six weeks of school, or I would be doomed. Now I know that students mostly know how to do school, and we must respect their intelligence as we build community with them.
In his summative reflection about an afterschool enrichment program, principal Matt Renwick shares comments from his students and his fellow teaching partner Renee, who agrees that “many of the students did things in this computer club time that blew me away.”