The 21st Century has brought many new challenges for educators. To meet these challenges, prioritizing critical thinking and problem-solving has become a top concern among teachers, as well it should.
In the world of tomorrow, teaching and promoting a love of learning by simply accumulating and disseminating more and more lesson material is not the answer.
Problem-based learning or “the other PBL” is yet another pedagogical approach, but it is one that happens to be ideal for establishing and strengthening problem-solving skills in students.
Essentially, problem-based learning involves posing complex and open-ended real-world questions and problems to your students, in order to promote a deeper understanding of concepts and principles (as opposed to simply presenting a bunch of facts in class directly).
Problem-based learning is a student-centered inquiry-based pedagogy. Presented with a real-life problem or question, students are required to conduct research using multiple resources, then to analyze and apply what they’ve learned toward a solution, and finally, to present their findings and conclusions. Through PBL, students can develop an array of helpful skills:
PBL can be incorporated into any class. While the core problems might vary across diverse subject matter, problems can be identified from many sources on inquiry. These problems should be well-defined and ultimately open to multiple solutions, designed by the students.
Here are five characteristics to consider when implementing PBL in your classroom:
The problem should motivate students to want to look deeper and know more.
Students need to make decisions based on a well-articulated rationale.
The problem should link previous class material with the content objectives.
The problem needs enough complexity to encourage groups to collaborate in order to discover it’s breadth and solve it.
For a multi-step PBL exercise, the initial steps of the problem should be open-ended enough to draw students in.
Presenting and distributing a PBL exercise can be done in a variety of ways, through case studies, role-plays, or simulations. Regardless of the chosen technique, the main objective and benefit of problem-based learning remain the same: students acquire a higher ability to solve real problems by applying deeper thinking.
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Problem-solving requires critical thinking, reasoning, and decision-making skills. It is essential to develop these skills in young people, so they may better understand and overcome the real-world challenges that they will face in their future.
Use your Aimee page to keep students engaged and developing these skills by:
Got a few minutes to spare? Here's more about PBL in a quick but helpful video.
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