PBL = most people’s jobs

Pop quiz, hot shot.  Who wrote this?

…my primary responsibility was to develop the project plan, maintain communication between the client and the project team, and provide intellectual leadership to the various modules making up the project.

Long story short, I was wandering the website of a consulting firm looking for biographical information on a volunteer that was due to write for the edu180atl project, for which I work as co-editor.  When I came across this little tidbit, it occurred to me that this consultant does on a regular basis what I aspire to do in my classroom: Project-based Learning.  He probably doesn’t call it PBL.  He calls it “his job.”  Many of our students will endeavor to “develop project plans,” “maintain communication,” and “provide leadership” in their future careers.  Worksheets help them build a skills base, but engaging in formative and summative PBL helps them put those skills to work.

The phrase that struck me, the one that pushed me to open a new tab on my browser and begin fleshing out these thoughts, was provide intellectual leadership.

Can I do that for a living?

I love teaching Spanish.  More importantly, I love teaching children.  But truth be told, I’d rather spend my time and my passion providing intellectual leadership and inspiring my students to do so in kind.

Perhaps those that fear that content will be subjugated to the so-called “soft skills” often associated with project-based learning” might take comfort in the notion that the degree to which content is stressed in PBL, such intellectual leadership may be provided, either by the teacher/facilitator or by the students themselves.

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One Response to PBL = most people’s jobs

  1. marymeganhoward says:

    I love every bit of this post, Ted. And the intellectual leadership piece is, as I have been reflecting just today with a colleague across the country, a make-or-break thing for schools who truly wish to innovate and act, I think. I truly believe that student, teacher, and administrator can provide this leadership…it just looks different and often achieves different results. This is a post I’ll save and use later — glad to see you are writing again!

    Oh, and the answer to your question: Jason. 🙂

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