Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Moving towards PBL - the challenges ahead

-- Please note the following post was in my draft box in August 2012 -- I finally just decided to post what I had started to write in November 2012 ---

Since I started blogging about MOC I've tried to keep the posts relevant and importantly frequent. I've kept to the 'relevance' side of things but certainly not the frequent!

Sometimes though in a school - change is very very slow! And for a period of time the call for change from my teachers perspective became increasingly frustrating. If you read back over my posts you might be able to tell!

Something changed, something swept through the middle and senior school (the primary years were ahead), an awakening to the fact we had to do things differently. The final trigger was in part to the visit to HTH by a few of our leadership team. They were able to clearly see PBL in action and in a real school.

Seeing is believing? Whatever it was it made me really happy because soon after the PBL train had really set off. We were presented at a whole MY/SY meeting with a plan and timetable structure that would look at incorporating PBL throughout daily student life.

It was hard to gauge the rooms feeling/atmosphere. I found it where I sat to be extremely positive and teachers nodded in agreement that the current timetabling structure and running of the school was not getting the results/effort we needed from our students - we know they can do more/better! Project based learning when structured and planned through works. I know this because during my recent vacation to the USA I also made a stop off at HTH for the Summer Institute 2012. HTH is a school that has worked and operated for over 10 years with resounding results - tracking students throughout their post school life as they enter college (I know for certain that my old HS never tracked me when I left...neither any of my 10+ friends I still keep in regular contact with).

Ok so onto the challenges ahead of us:

- Time! Reading back over my blog, we really should of started planning and implementing a complete restructure awhile back. I understand that things happen that cause priorities to shift but as a 'worker bee' facing the students everyday it was clear very quickly to me that a 6 lesson day, with a huge number of subjects taught in nearly the same manner that I was educated in (the laptops were the 'sprinkle' on top) was not going to work. You can't just say to teachers 'teach better/with more innovation/add more ICT/rework your assignments!!....and oh but by the foundation that you do it on (timetable + delivery (1 teacher to 25-30 students) is going to be exactly the same as it has been for 20 years.

So time now is precious. For the Senior Years at least 2013 in Year 10 looks to be huge! We need time to implement and get our projects planned, created and tuned (explain this in another post). Less than 6 months to go!!

- Collegial effort - So this is the big one. For something like this to work you need everyone on board. I remember distinctly having conversations regarding timetable changes last year with a number of people. Some receptive some not so. The not so had reasons such as 'teacher experience', 'impossible to staff PBL', 'let us see where we are in 2-3-4...etc years

- I'll end this post at this point because this was last edited in August 2012 and I wanted to just get it out there! - ....more too come shortly!

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