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Using Problem-Based Learning in Teacher Preparation to Address National Content Standards
Unformatted Document Text:  because someone wasn't setting them for us. This too was good preparation for being a real teacher." • "We had a little healthy competition infused into the class. Not only did we each want the best presentation, but we all wanted to make something great in total for the good of the group." • "We see this exercise as relevant and real and that our collective butts are on the line. In a traditional class, things are artificial and there is little at stake except for a grade. This goes more to the heart of our personal and professional pride. We might even make a difference." Comments such as these make me conclude that the course was a successful one. The difference for my students rested on successfully crafting the dynamics embedded in crucial elements of problem-based learning. Given a captivating and relevant problem, freedom to work creatively and collectively, and trusting that students will rise to the occasion are essential components of learning in this unique and meaningful way. Section II: Outcomes and Methods A. Learner/participant outcomes: It is intended that participants will come closer to embracing Problem Based Learning (PBL) as an integrative curriculum approach that is specifically designed to impact the learning of all students through high interest, technology enhanced, evidence based learning opportunities. PBL, though potentially messy and highly constructivist in nature, attends to our current understandings regarding a brain friendly environment in which a variety of intelligences are leveraged to solve real world problems. Children who do not normally perform well on traditional assessments may achieve higher levels of success when engaged in real world problem solving. PBL also encourages working in small, task oriented groups. If curriculum decision makers embrace PBL, teacher preparation units in higher education will need to move their teacher candidates toward the direction of becoming facilitators of learning who are highly skilled at managing small group task forces. B. Methods: After a brief presentation of a successful PBL unit, participants will have an opportunity to engage in developing a small concept map regarding a specific issue. Participants will then engage in a reflective activity to explore initial reactions to the cognitive and affective dynamics experienced while completing the concept map. These reflections will serve as a basis for discussion about how teacher candidates engaged in PBL might better acquire the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for their future teaching careers. References: Allen, D. and Duch, B. (1998). Thinking Towards Solutions: Problem-Based Learning Activities for General Biology. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt College Publishing Beane, J. (1993). A Middle School Curriculum: From Rhetoric To Reality. Columbus, Ohio: National Middle School Association Dickinson, T. and Butler, D. (September, 2001). Reinventing the Middle School. The Middle School Journal, vol. 33, no. 1, pgs. 7-13. Glasser, W. (1986). Control theory in the classroom. New York: Harper & Row. McKewin, K. (1996). America's Middle Schools: Practices and Programs-A 25 Year Perspective. Westerville, Oh: National Middle School Association

Authors: Warner, Mark.
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because someone wasn't setting them for us. This too was good preparation for being a
real teacher."
"We had a little healthy competition infused into the class. Not only did we each want the
best presentation, but we all wanted to make something great in total for the good of the
group."
"We see this exercise as relevant and real and that our collective butts are on the line. In
a traditional class, things are artificial and there is little at stake except for a grade. This
goes more to the heart of our personal and professional pride. We might even make a
difference.
"
Comments such as these make me conclude that the course was a successful one. The
difference for my students rested on successfully crafting the dynamics embedded in crucial
elements of problem-based learning. Given a captivating and relevant problem, freedom to work
creatively and collectively, and trusting that students will rise to the occasion are essential
components of learning in this unique and meaningful way.

Section II: Outcomes and Methods
A. Learner/participant
outcomes: It is intended that participants will come closer to
embracing Problem Based Learning (PBL) as an integrative curriculum approach that is
specifically designed to impact the learning of all students through high interest, technology
enhanced, evidence based learning opportunities. PBL, though potentially messy and highly
constructivist in nature, attends to our current understandings regarding a brain friendly
environment in which a variety of intelligences are leveraged to solve real world problems.
Children who do not normally perform well on traditional assessments may achieve higher levels
of success when engaged in real world problem solving. PBL also encourages working in small,
task oriented groups. If curriculum decision makers embrace PBL, teacher preparation units in
higher education will need to move their teacher candidates toward the direction of becoming
facilitators of learning who are highly skilled at managing small group task forces.
B. Methods: After a brief presentation of a successful PBL unit, participants will have an
opportunity to engage in developing a small concept map regarding a specific issue. Participants
will then engage in a reflective activity to explore initial reactions to the cognitive and affective
dynamics experienced while completing the concept map. These reflections will serve as a basis
for discussion about how teacher candidates engaged in PBL might better acquire the
knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for their future teaching careers.

References:
Allen, D. and Duch, B. (1998). Thinking Towards Solutions: Problem-Based Learning Activities for
General Biology. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt College Publishing

Beane, J. (1993). A Middle School Curriculum: From Rhetoric To Reality. Columbus, Ohio:
National Middle School Association

Dickinson, T. and Butler, D. (September, 2001). Reinventing the Middle School. The Middle
School Journal, vol. 33, no. 1, pgs. 7-13.

Glasser, W. (1986). Control theory in the classroom. New York: Harper &
Row.

McKewin, K. (1996). America's Middle Schools: Practices and Programs-A 25 Year Perspective.
Westerville, Oh: National Middle School Association


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