NO...I will NOT tell you how or why or what do and YES I have a reason...I want you to think for yourself and figure out a solution on your own! Am I going to leave you floatin' with no life-raft, of course not; but am I going to make sure you explore every avenue of "rescue" before I throw you that raft...of course!
If you are an educator, parent, or just someone interested in anything having to do with learning, then you most certainly should know about the new "it-thang" in education...(drum roll please)...PBL...Project Based Learning! This new phenomenon isn't actually that new at all, but like most cyclical things in education, we are finding ourselves swinging the pendulum to the side of students constructing their own learning once again.
In my humble opinion...it's about darn time! Our society has become so gung-ho on "new, fast, latest" that we in turn have created a bunch of little brains who only want to participate and engage in things that result in instant gratification. Technology is fantastic and has it's place in our learning processes; but should it be a fast fix for giving answers to children...no! As a mother and an educator, I can attest to the fact that when an immense amount of 'work' is put on teachers, it becomes easier to stay afloat when we simply give kids the answer instead of giving them the time to figure it out on their own. Ah, that elusive "T" word...time! Educators are expected to do more today than ever before and yet we then wonder why our kids can't think for themselves. Well, lets break this down.
1. Administrators want teachers to spend time making sure every child reaches a specific "benchmark" grade/mastery level and if they don't, well then the teacher better teach, and reteach, assess, and then reassess until they do. Please tell me when, in all of this, the teachers is actually ever supposed to give the child a chance to learn on their own?
2. Many schools are now expecting teachers to do the same thing, the same way, at the same time and I ask you again...when in any of this are children given the time to construct their own learning?
3. Parents have overbooked their families so much it is resulting in NO TIME spent together discussing the world around us or working on homework TOGETHER. Parents no longer have the opportunity to pose deep questions to their children and then watch with glee as their children explore and discuss the answers/solutions...no, instead we are shoveling Big Macs down our throats as we hustle from one activity to the next all in the name of "expanding the horizons and culture" of our children! We yell out the spelling words to our kids in the backseat without even truly waiting to hear them spell the words and then say "Okay, check that off the homework list! Now hurry, we are late for practice!"
What if we all (educators and parents) committed to slowing down and giving our children time to think! What if we didn't always give them the answers to everything because it is just so much easier! What if we put up with their (our precious kiddos) frustration as we told them to think things through on their own with only the slightest of guidance from us? I am willing to bet that the more we give our children chances to use their brains, engage actively in situations, and simply figure things out, the more we will see an increase in bright, ambitious, and goal-oriented young folks!
I am thrilled that "project-based learning" is showing up more and more in schools and I'm hoping it will begin making a come-back in homes as well!
Now, off to do the dishes, make sure the 3D model of the landslide is complete, make the kids dust the house, fill water bottles for practice, gather tutoring materials, and still find time to pose some questions to my children and give them time to explore a solution...all before shower, dinner, and bedtime at 8!