Sunday, September 6, 2009

True Project Based Learning

I'm about to begin a project based learning approach in my Secondary Mathematics classroom and would appreciate some input or ideas for possible road blocks that I can already see in the future. In math classrooms most students want to sit and watch the teacher work the problem. Any time collaborative learning or group learning is introduced into the classroom (and I do this on a slow gradual basis) most students still will not make an effort in trying to solve the problems or build on the old ideas. I can't even get the gifted students to make an effort towards trying something new, that they may possibly not understand. They just want to simply sit there and wait for me to come and explain step by step what to do. This is just as beneficial as the process above. How do I get my students to go from passive learners to active learners when it comes to math?


  1. I feel like the math teachers at our school have really done a great job of making the transition from students becoming passive to active learners. A few years back they implemented the math workshop model consisting of a mini lesson, an activity where the students had AT LEAST a five minute struggle time before they could ask for help. From what I've heard the math teachers say, the struggle time is crucial. They say they feel like it's a main contributor of students becoming active in their learning.

  2. We too have instituted a struggle time or ask three before me. But what we've encountered now is a new level of apathy where the students will choose not to do anything until the teacher comes around at the end of the time period. They have come to learn that if push comes to shove, it is the teachers who are under the time deadline. Please know that I'm not making excuses as to why this won't work, only trying to figure out how to overcome this next obstacle so that it can work.

  3. Is it apathy or fear? Students (especially some ages) are so peer-conscious that they can't take risks and possibly fail in front of other students. Can you find a way to make risk-taking less threatening? Maybe reward effort during that "struggle time"? Good luck!


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