Welcome to PBL: Loving the Fuzziness | Thom Markham | 5 Min Read

In the U.S. educational system, July is always a good month to take time off, relax a bit, and reflect on the coming academic year. I know many of you work on a different calendar (and are still working hard!) but Project-Based Learning Week is the perfect opportunity to pause and deepen your understanding of PBL. There’s always room for better thinking, and each day I’ll post a short article to highlight the complexities, challenges, and opportunities inherent in PBL.

The theme for this week is ‘Why is Real PBL So Critical to the Needs of the Whole Child?’ That’s a good place to start. What do we hope to achieve with PBL? Why choose PBL over other methods for teaching and learning? And what signs of success should we look for in students?

These aren’t easy questions. In fact, just to get at some of the answers requires four articles or more. I think there is agreement on one answer: Most of us in education are dissatisfied with the old ‘hand it in, hand it back’ school culture, in which students focus on test results and grades rather than diving deep into the process of learning. PBL promises…

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Thom Markham

Thom Markham is an educator, regenerative psychologist, and global entrepreneur. Thom pioneered the worldwide buildout of project-based learning and human development programs for youth and is the author of Redefining Smart: Awakening Students’ Power to Reimagine Their World. Currently, his work is focused on turning schools green through deep sustainability. He shares his ideas in Rx for the Planet, with Dr. Thom, a newsletter designed to prod human thinking beyond convention and assumption.