PROMOTING THE CULTURE OF RESEARCH IN SCHOOLS
Practitioners of PBL may find it useful to familiarize themselves with educational research which focuses on various aspects of the topic. The following articles were written on the theme of "Teacher Development in PBL: Promoting The Culture of Research in Schools" by the staff of a research and development effort in Israel, led by Dr. Sherman Rosenfeld.
A barrier to the realization of quality project-based learning (PBL) is the issue of teacher and school support. What are the major challenges and how should they be approached? What type of support should be offered, by whom, and under what conditions?
(1) A model. "An Interlocking Loops Model to Support Teacher Development and School Change in PBL" is based on an analysis of the goals, difficulties and support needed for four audiences (students, teacher teams, leading teachers, and teacher educators). We propose three "interlocking loops" of support. Based on this model, guidelines to establish a Center for PBL are presented.
(2) Integrating PBL skills with content knowledge. "Integrating Content and PBL Skills: A Case Study of Teacher from Four Schools" reports an action-research PBL study that showed that, despite many successful outcomes, PBL teachers and their students were overwhelmed with the "cognitive load" of developing PBL skills, and neglected content knowledge. Recommendations are made to better integrate skills with content.
(3) PBL and learning styles. "Understanding the Surprises in PBL: An Exploration into Learning Styles of Teachers and their Students" suggests that students who are "pleasant surprises" in their PBL work have learning styles which are less adapted to the typical classroom, while students who are "disappointing surprises" have learning styles which are more adapted to the classroom and less to PBL environments. Implications for teacher development are suggested.
(4) A PBL software environment. "The Development of Software to Support Teachers and their Students in PBL: The Golden Way" describes a rich software environment design to support PBL. The software is based on the metaphor of a guided journey and uses a common task structure. Research studies illuminate how to best use the software to support teacher development and classroom practice.
(5) Professional Development in PBL. "PBL in Science and Technology: A Case Study of Professional Development" is an action research study of a PBL inservice for teachers. The study traces the sequence of the inservice, the resulting teacher projects in science and technology, and phenomena of note in the workshop. Finally, we discuss our findings and their relevance for practice.