What if the primary goal of PBL or GBL for that matter wasn’t improved academic performance?
What if I’m yelling about them because they are essential components of experience, but have been removed by small minds who find thinking somewhat challenging? Well, they are not completely banned, they have just been reduced or rebadged to make them easier to deal with. For example, school camps and college field trips are allowed, as is a weekly dose of competitive gaming outside in shorts. How did these things sneak inside the hallowed halls of academic improvement. They didn’t, the improved academic performance line is simply a an effective way to avoid improved academic performance improvement. It’s sort of brilliant. Like using the weight of the attacker against themselves to win.
What people actually want is stable academic results which show organisational improvement over time, thus reflecting the billiance of those who are running it all. Has nothing to do with well-being, social inclusion, self-efficacy and so on – those are things which the factory worker’s mind never needed.
To all those ‘getting to it’ or ‘getting around to it’, please pay particular attention to research that has been around for over 25 years.
Motivational and self-regulated learning components are essential to the classroom.
This means of course classrooms without them (those lecturing students then giving them a task being the opposite) will never improve under the direction of the regime – yet will of course make easy targets (poor teachers, crap students and so on). The entire ‘learning’ experience is still diffective and incompatible with the world as it exists today – yet this is normal and tolerated. PBL and GBL are ways to take up Civil Rights if nothing else, and I’m not sure what could matter more to kids or parents right now.
Even worse, proven methods (not ideas) such as PBL and GBL are set aside in favour of ‘bacon-thinking’ and other unproven (yet social-media popular) tales and personalities – receiving endless attention and money. Why? Because there is no risk, no compulsion and no data to prove one way or the other.
1. Self-regulation of cognition and behavior is an important aspect of student learning and academic performance in the classroom context (Corno & Mandinach, 1983; Corno & Rohrkemper, 1985).
2. self-regulated learning includes students’ metacognitive strategies for planning, monitoring, and modifying their cognition (e.g., Brown, Bransford, Campione, & Ferrara, 1983; Corno, 1986; Zimmerman & Pons, 1986, 1988).
3. Capable students who persist at a difficult task or block out distractors (i.e., noisy classmates) maintain their cognitive engagement in the task, enabling them to perform better (Corno, 1986; Corno & Rohrkemper, 1985). Different cognitive strategies such as rehearsal, elaboration, and organizational strategies have been found to foster active cognitive engagement in learning and result in higher levels of achievement (Weinstein & Mayer, 1986).
The value component of student motivation involves students’ goals for the task and their beliefs about the importance and interest of the task. Although this component has been conceptualized in a variety of ways (e.g., learning vs. performance goals, intrinsic vs. extrinsic orientation, task value, and intrinsic interest), this motivational component essentially concerns students’ reasons for doing a task. In other words, what are students’ individual answers to the question, “Why am I doing this task?” The research suggests that students with a motivational orientation involving goals of mastery, learning, and challenge, as well as beliefs that the task is interesting and important, will engage in more metacognitive activity, more cognitive strategy use, and more effective effort management (e.g., Ames & Archer, 1988; Dweck & Elliott, 1983; Eccles, 1983; Meece, Blumenfeld, & Hoyle, 1988; Nolen, 1988; Paris & Oka, 1986).
All these references are 20 years old.
What exactly is Capatian Obvious telling us from the stage in 2012 that we don’t know?
My view is they should be challenged to:
1. Present some new evidence what what they say has the impact they claim
2. Present a method, framework and resources required to model/copy/implement in the everyday classroom
3. And be paid no more than a casual lecturer per hour – as that is what they are no matter how entertaining the are.
4. Not talk about or infer experience and expertise in things they have not themselves done/taught or made
In the mean time, PBL and GBL do work. I am pretty sure the last decade of conference lectures has not.
(A post celebrating Mr 11s end of primary school, 6 years of no technological improvement or benefit what-so-ever).