When we started this journey I had no idea what PBL was. I have been a teacher for many years and I have conducted many projects but nothing compares to a PBL project. Other projects can also be student-centered, requiring students to work alone or in groups to discover new information and reflect on what they are learning, but PBL projects go a step further. In PBL projects, students don’t just answer questions formed by the teacher but they are posing their own questions, they deal with real world problems that have applications outside of the classroom setting and the results of their inquiry are shared with a public audience. They collaborate, problem solve and in general develop skills necessary for the world they live in. I think that the PBLworks’ website expresses best the difference between “a project” and “a PBL project” by stating that a PBL project is the “main course” rather than a “dessert”. A PBL project provides an entire framework, a main meal, rather than merely a fun creative challenge, a dessert, for the students to accomplish. So, creating that framework for the students to work with is a lot of work and requires a lot of thinking, planning, designing, developing, revising and refining.
Thus, the most challenging part of this project for me besides developing a driving question was putting everything together and thinking every single detail ahead of time. The driving question nearly drove me insane (laugh). I understood the theory (should be open ended, engaging, aligned with the learning goals) but it was hard putting the theory to practice. Of course I had a lot of help and feedback during the whole process not only from our instructor, Dr. Rice, but from all of you, my peers. Peer and instructor feedback were great components of this course and I believe that I wouldn’t have learnt so much, if this course didn’t have that sharing. I learned from others and not only from their feedback to my own work but also from their comments to others and from sharing their projects, their ideas, their knowledge and expertise. I had many “ah-ha” moments by going through my peers’ projects and discussion posts. By reading their comments and participating in the discussions I believe that I learned more than I would have, if this course had a different structure. So this course provided me more than I anticipated and gave me a lot of experience that I didn’t expect to gain. What am I going to do with it? Well, that’s a good question.
I plan on using my PBL project with my Greek Language students this fall; Since it’s an afternoon school the project timeline will be slightly different but I am really looking forward to seeing my students research, learn more about their Hellenic heritage and develop their end of the year fair exhibits. I am quite thrilled about this PBL project and I am confident that it will create an unforgettable impression on our Greek Community.