problem-based learning vs. direct instruction

Becoming a Common Core teacher.

What exactly does that mean to you?

Moving from the sage on the stage to the guide on the side.
Requiring students to solve problems via different paths.
Providing a learning environment that involves choice and differentiation.

Agree? Disagree? Qualify?

These are goals that I have been striving to achieve in the past three years. I didn't set these goals to become a Common Core teacher; however, I do believe they coincide with the characteristics necessary to be successful with the new standards. But I've decided there is an element of teaching that I haven't truly processed.

Yep. It's official. I've been stretched. My current professional development (UAEMP) has challenged me to assess my teaching methods. Conclusion: There is a time for problem-based learning and there is a time for direct instruction.

If I can develop a concept through discovery, then I should engage my students in that task and provide an opportunity for reflection and summary of findings.

If I can expand a concept through problem-based learning, then I should provide rich open-ended problems for my students to solve in a variety of ways...and again...provide an opportunity for discussion that prompts further learning.

And if a concept requires process via direct instruction, then I should provide such teaching opportunities in the most engaging and efficient way possible to allow for adequate practice and application of the concept.

However, it is important to note that I cannot successfully teach a process unless my students have the conceptual understanding to make connections and applications of the concept to said process. Far too often math teachers focus on the short-term process without a watchful eye on the long-term concept. As my district dives into Grades 5-8 Common Core standards implementation, I commit to being intentional as I select discovery and problem-based learning activities vs. direct instruction.

Have you attended professional development this summer that has stretched you as a teacher?!? Oh...please share...surely I'm not the only one with ideas swirling these days! :)

Hope your week is off to a great start...make it count!

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