It’s no wonder that when a district decides to implement PBL, teachers and site leaders often feel like they cannot possibly do One. More. Thing.
After we got them all out, I think we were all a little surprised and maybe even more overwhelmed than when we started by everything on the list. Small groups took responsibility for identifying the vision and key components for each initiative. Each list was reviewed by another group to make sure initiatives were accurately represented.
As a whole group, we identified the vision and key components of PBL to make sure there was a clear and common understanding. Then the groups went back to their posters and circled in green the places where there was alignment between PBL and each of their initiatives. There were a lot of green circles on their posters. Some of the initiatives, it was discovered, could live wholly inside PBL – meaning there was complete alignment, e.g., for content-specific work, Thinking Maps, and AVID.
Develop a calendar for professional development or staff/department meetings that keeps the connections alive by shifting the orientation of meetings to focus on student goals or outcomes. Then look at existing initiatives to figure out what’s already in place to help achieve those goals.
This blog post shares how the amount of time we give students to think and answer questions can have a great impact on the quality of response we receive. By giving students wait time and thinking time, the quantity and quality of student thinking increased by 300-700%.
As time is such a valuable resource its allocation to particular aspects of teaching and learning signifies their value. If we give time to content and memorisation of facts, we signal to our students that this is what we value. Likewise, if we remind our students that time is short and work must be completed quickly we should not be surprised when our students see tasks as work to be done rather than learning to be mastered. A more effective distribution of our time will see students being given time to think deeply and truly engage with the problems they are asked to solve.
The importance of these soft-skills including important aspects of socio-emotional learning, creativity and even critical thinking are often not given the time they deserve.
Ritchhart (2015) quotes research that reveals the power of wait time and thinking time with the quality and quantity of student thinking increasing by 300% to 700% when additional time is given to thinking within class discussion. Wait time or thinking time combined with strategies such as those from ‘Making Thinking Visible’ signify to students that what is wanted is not a speedy response but a well considered one. Wait time and thinking time according to Ritchhart combat the habit many students develop of guessing what the teacher wants as a response.
Self-determination Theory (SDT) as described by Ryan & Deci (2000) and as discussed in Daniel Pink’s (2009) work on motivation reveals three drives that help us engage and maintain enthusiasm. Autonomy or a sense of control is a part of this triad and although we may not be able to decide which tasks we complete or not we can probably determine the order they are approached. Scheduling tasks which give us a boost of energy early in the day might help us move through the challenging middle period while finishing with a task we enjoy can be a positive ending. Putting off the tasks we enjoy least, those which offer the leas rewards until the end of the day is a recipe for disaster.
The other two drives identified by SDT are purpose and mastery. These too are linked to time and shape our perception of a task as a positive or negative experience. The perceived purpose of a task, the degree to which a task is important to us, the intrinsic enjoyment that a task has play an important part in how we value the time we spend on it. If a task is closely connected to our core purposes it is likely to be valued and time spent on is hardly noticed.
Within SDT the desire to master a task is the third drive. Mastery in most instances takes time and situations which prevent us from achieving mastery can lead to negative feelings. Being realistic with our mastery goals and recognising that true mastery is only achieved after significant time may reduce feeling of anxiety when confronted by situations where mastery is the goal but success is difficult to achieve.
His time management matrix shows a correlation between a task's perceived importance and its urgency with tasks deemed important but not-urgent being the ones which allow us to produce our best work. This concept is similar to the idea of wait time or thinking time and the ideas are linked together in Ritchhart’s writing.
Collaborative planning, reflection, problem identification and solution are areas that demand our best thinking but are not always given the time they demand. What this reveals is that the problem many schools face is not one of quantity of time but rather allocation of time.
By talking about how we use time, where we need more time, how we may better distribute our use of time to signal importance and provide opportunities for students and teachers to achieve their best with the time they have we begin to move things forward. Being open to new solutions, breaking with tradition and valuing time as we value money are steps towards a better model for time management in schools, one that has benefits for all.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.