1) TIME: The biggest excuse on the teacher planet is, "I don't have enough time..." Guess what? Time is what you do have! You may not have money, resources, or parent support - but you do have time. How you manage your time will make the biggest difference in your school or classroom. Many educators are beholden to a curriculum that has little real-world application, does not emphasize 21st Century Skills, or is simply outdated. If you engage in PBL, your students walk away with an increased motivation to learn, 21st Century Skills that are applicable and transferrable inside and outside of the classroom, and a hunger for more knowledge. Who wouldn't make time for that?
2) MONEY: If you have ever worked at a school, money is always an excuse for not engaging in a practice or implementing something. If you are waiting for money to appear before taking action, you might be waiting for an eternity. Proactive educators make it happen and they do not let excuses impede their progress. Here's a tip - use the resources at your disposal! Create a Donors Choose or Go Fund Me account and seek outside support for funding of projects. Just know that you do not need money to get started with PBL. Trust me, you have plenty to work with - a desire to accelerate achievement, students who are eager to engage in hands-on learning, the Internet, and technology via digital devices (laptops, desktops, smart phones, iPads, Chrome Books, LCDs, SmartBoards, Apple TVs, etc.).
3) TURNKEY PBL MODEL THAT IS INTERDISCIPLINARY: Okay, this reason is actually justifiable. In all of my years of teaching, coordinating, and administrating, I struggled to find a PBL model that has these characteristics (turnkey and interdisciplinary). Furthermore, inquiry and investigation are typically promoted in math and science classes, but it is just as necessary in all the other subjects. Are you aware that the word "research" appears at least 80 times in the Common Core ELA standards? And what dominates the life of college students? Research! This is all the more reason to implement PBL, which should be feasible for any topic in any discipline. However, there are not enough PBL models that foster the "any topic, any discipline" approach. Since any topic can be studied and researched, students would be excited to study Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, David Beckham, global warming, celebrities, careers, cars, animals, the stock market, countries, states, social media, fashion, governments, food/nutrition, finances, medicine, technology, and the list goes on forever. How might educators facilitate these type of student-driven projects? Well, this is where +1 Pedagogy (+1P) enters the picture. +1P is an interdisciplinary PBL framework and curriculum that was created specifically for K-12 teachers, coordinators, administrators, parents, and college professors to do just that - facilitate the study of any topic in any discipline. Check out more on the +1 Pedagogy page.
We need to reimagine schools that put students first by embracing practices that bolster college and career readiness, global competence, and student interests. If you are one of those educators that believes in PBL, but never really got it started in your classroom/school, start today and don't stop there. If you are one of those educators who already practices PBL, keep it going and spread the good news about this exemplary practice. #PBLforAll