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Project Based Learning and a 7th Affirmation

5/16/2012

The following post comes from a response I posted to an eduTopia Blog. A 7th affirmation should be: Project Based Learning (PBL) teachers help students develop Scientific Process Skills where students develop innovative ideas and allow those ideas to be tested. I agree with the above six affirmations. I've been teaching for over 30 years but with cutting edge instruction always modifying and responding to how students learn and always collaborating with other teaching professionals. I've seen it all from top to bottom having taught all the Sciences and been Science Coordinator for over seven years. I have seen flaws thou coming from a few Curriculum Coordinators and Administrators that many times they are unaware about the way instruction should unfold in the innovative Science Classroom! For the first ten years of my teaching career, I butted heads several times with administrators who were just obstacles to student empowerment! Many people are astounded that what I was doing in the late 80's is what the science community is now telling teachers they should consider relative to Project Based Learning. I stayed on track by studying what was happening at major universities outside of Texas like University of Iowa who is the world's leader in Science Education and Project Zero at Harvard University who have impacted so many students and teachers worldwide. The majority of the places where I taught were not Project Based Learning Facilities other than the last two schools where I taught. I insisted on the Science Departments making transitions from traditional approaches to PBL. Community leaders and state governments measure success by test scores, ratings, and rankings! A better measurement device would be to see how many project ideas will leave the school environment and enter college research facilities and global competing markets. Teacher success should be measured by tracking ex-students and seeing how their projects in high school paved the way towards their college and professional endeavors. What PBL teachers need is grant money so that they can pursue the innovative end of their giftedness and strengths and in turn empower their students. PBL Teachers at the high school level should have hard money available to them the way college professors do. This forces teachers to stay on the cutting edge with out going broke. I have poured $50,000 plus of my own money into my Virtual Science University online course plus thousands of hours. I am almost broke but I am impacting society on a global scale! What matters is empowering young people! Everything else is water under the bridge!

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