5 Questions to Ask for Troubleshooting Project-Based

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is a collaborative, student-centered approach where students learn about a subject by working in groups to gain knowledge and mastery of the courses for solving an open-ended problem. ‘I need assistance from …

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is a collaborative, student-centered approach where students learn about a subject by working in groups to gain knowledge and mastery of the courses for solving an open-ended problem. ‘I need assistance from only a top essay writing company,’ they will put their 100% into delivering the solutions as per your needs. This involves students developing, designing, and constructing hands-on solutions to a specific problem.

Despite giving the effort, there are times when project-based learning does not work for you. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, consider the following 5 questions to understand what went wrong. That way you will be able to understand what you have to do to get it done right the next time.

How is Your Community?

Problem-based learning (PBL) demands collaboration, and collaboration requires community. When students are asked to work together to create something new or solve a problem, the amount of risk they experience increases. Putting kids in the zone of proximal development (ZPD) implies creating a perfect balance between the amount of stress they bring into the classroom and the amount of risk we consider adding to it.

Figure out what exactly is going on in their world. Was there any change to their schedules? Has there been any major event? If there has been any event, had there been any positive or negative impacts on the school or larger community?

The slightest change, like changes in the weather or an upcoming holiday, is enough to trigger a community. PBL experiences that are even less-than-optimal may indicate the community’s need for a little attention. If that is so, these might be the best solution:

  • Take a closer look at how your students are doing individually. You may go through Maslow to understand if any instant, specific issues require you to address.
  • Review class agreements or expectations to ensure they are the right fit. If required, consider making more revisions.
  • Play together to lower the stress level and build community.
  • Try reflecting as a group on what happened. Take the help of tools like WASHor a carousel to ensure all voices are heard.
  • Group dynamics, as well as conflicts, must be addressed head-on. As we all know, life is full of conflicts and battles.

Did You Under- or Over Shoot the Level of Structure?

Go through the structures that students had to follow in the past.  Find out how much of their work is self-directed and teacher-directed. What has it been like for them in most of their academic careers? Also, find out the difference between what you have asked them to do and their usual experience.

If these students had always been told what they must do, losing such structure could trigger stress.

On the other hand, if the students are used to solving problems independently, they may find the structure to be boring.

When facing this issue, it is best to think about what your moves have been. Shift your role of teacher-in-charge to the role of the teacher as facilitator. As you try making the shift, consider mindful facilitation and the power of waiting.

Clearly state and restate what you hope to hear and see. Let students struggle on their own and find their own way out of the problem. You may ask the following questions to refocus a group:

  • What does not seem to work for them?
  • What steps have they already taken?
  • What exactly are they supposed to be working on?
  • What more can they be doing?

Do brainstorming sessions on the changes they think are needed to be made to the groupings, timeline, structure, or expectations.

What Kind of Grouping Decision Have You Made?

We often tend to think PBL needs to be a whole class or four to six people where all the kids are focused on the same project at the same time. But the reality is far different than this. Usually, people who have been in one of these groups or have experienced teaching classes with these groups know very well how it really goes. So out of 9 students, you will find 4 kids busily working on their project, three discussing something else, and two doing their own thing.

PBL has no such law that says all students have to work on the same project at the same time. In fact, that will be considered a high-risk thing. So, it is better to assign them, professional essay writer, to individual or group projects where each has to play different roles, doing different tasks simultaneously towards a common goal.

How Complex is the Work?

It will be frustrating for students to solve a problem they have not worked on before. You should carefully define the parameters of the work and the resources.

Ensure whatever they need is found on a single sheet of paper. Consider looking into what you have asked students to do. Did you unintentionally end you asking them, synthesizing more than you have realized? In such case, break it down into multiple liked projects where they first synthesize, evaluate, and finally can create.

Take into account their familiarity with the content and the tools they are expected to use.

Rule of thumb: Avoid giving a task to students where they are required to work with new processes or tools and new content at the same time.

When it comes to the total time spent on PBL lessons, the balance between too short and too long can get tricky. Students lose the sense of urgency if given too much time, and they start to show stress-reactive behaviors with too little time.

Hence, try negotiating time with them based on what you see around the room.

 Did the Students Know What is Expected from Them?

It will be wrong to assume students know whatever is expected from them since clarity is the key to success in PBL So, so provide them with form, content, process, and impact criteria.

Form: What should the work look like for this project or in general?

Content: What, according to you, should the work be supposed to show? Share academic knowledge that requires to be demonstrated.

Process:  What should we hear and see while working?

Impact criteria:  What characteristics do you think with the show once the desired result is achieved? How to understand that it has worked? You can take a look at an example of this here.

Summing up,

PBL is often considered a binary proposition, but successful PBL is a journey. It is essential to take into account your and your student’s past instructional experiences, the level of comfort of everyone with additional risk, and the condition of the classroom community to create a plan for the right amount of complexity, risk, and structure. 

Author Bio:  Steve Johnson is a teacher at one of the most prestigious high schools in the UK. She is also associated with My Assignment help, one of the top essay writing services.

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