Sunday, February 13, 2011

What Counts?

As I mentioned in Customizing Professional Development . . . ., I began this semester with the plan to suit the activity of each of my four professional groups to the needs of the repsective members.  I used a survey to inventory the  progress and needs of each Challenge Based Learning team.  However, a couple of issues stood out across groups:  1) How to word the challenge itself (see Actionable Challenges).  2) How much should the CBL project count?

Hmnn.......How much should the challenge count?  I posed a thought problem in response:  CBL will cultivate critical thinking skills, intitiative, problem solving, collabrative skills, and technology skills.  Those skills should count, right?    We shouldn't ignore the acquisition of these skills simply because we "teach" a course subject like history or Spanish, should we?

So I asked the teachers to reflect on what presently "counted" in their courses.  I suspect that in many cases reading comprehension, note taking, information retention, test taking skills, and written communication count for a great deal.  It's also possible that friendliness, short term memory, and producing homework (whether the student did it herself or not) also "counts."  But my intention is not to automatically cast aspersions on the way that points might count for a grade in another teacher's class.  I think it is perfectly reasonable to weigh the educational experience of CBL against the other class activities.

If CBL is causing us to talk about what "counts", CBL has already been good for our school.
"abacus" Flickr Creative Commons photo by feck_aRt_post

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