Learning in the Real World

Any time a school tries something new there's always a level of apprehension. Change is inevitable, but in most cases necessary to move forward. Before we began staff development with Problem Based Learning we surveyed the staff to gain insight into their level of experience and comfort level with the process and yes, there existed a certain level of apprehension. I think that's now gone.

Thursday, February 11th Kimmel Farm Elementary's faculty embarked on a seven week journey to be trained in the PBL process/methodology. Training took place for four hours after the end of the regular school day, but thanks to the wonderfully engaging staff of CERTL, especially Dr. Ann Lambros and Adrienne Loffredo, the experience was engaging and energizing. Here are some of the reflections of the faculty following the first training.

I found the PBL approach to be very interesting. This is my
first exposure to it and I am thinking of how to adapt it to my classroom setting, but I am sure that it can be done with great results. I must say, one of the better staff development sessions I've ever been in.

What excites me most about what Kimmel Farm is doing with PBL is the level of commitment, engagement, and excitement everyone is bringing to the table. It is about doing what we know is right for students in order to make them lifelong learners.

I am excited to integrate PBL into my classroom because I feel it will involve and engage all my learners, especially the ones who are usually shy and try to go unnoticed.

This process seems like it lends itself very well to utilizing the tech and media center resources. I'm excited to work with a highly motivated and professional staff to show results in education can be achieved if one used the right methodology and breaks out from the mold.

I'm blessed to be part of a team of teachers AND administration that can step back and think outside the box when it comes to educating young people. Most importantly everyone is willing to jump in and do whatever is needed to meet our shared goal of being the best teachers we can be. I sat many times in my graduate classes last year and listened to other teachers gripe that the schools they were at did not support teaching that pushed the standards of what we are all used to and here I am at a school where EVERYONE is willing and eager. I think PBL is a tool that will make us all better teachers and most importantly our students better learners.

It is AWESOME to be at a school where we will all be teaching PBL!!!!!! Imagine teaching students to think outside the box and become problem solvers. AMAZING!

Sometimes it is hard to me to believe that as a new teacher I am privileged to be a part of such an awesome learning environment. I am so excited about the PBL implementation here. Not only am I excited to see what the kids in my second grade classroom can do with this style of learning, but I am excited to know that I will be able to carry on a conversation over the dinner table with my own children about they will be learning the their experiences with PBL. I am truly blessed to be a part of Kimmel Farm.

As I sat and listened to the staff work through their first PBL problem, I felt so honored to work among such talented and creative people. I was so proud of how well we all worked together as a unit. Responses were so thoughtful and everyone was truly engaged. I think that if it engaged us as a staff it will truly do amazing things for our students. I have loved PBL for such along time and am so glad to share my love and passion with my fantastic colleagues! I look forward our next sessions together and can't wait to see us grow even closer from this staff development!

Photo by woodleywonderworks via Flickr