Adapting Into the Role of as Facilitator

  • Will my role in the teaching/learning process change?

Project-Based Learning is student-centered.  Rather than instruction from a teacher lecturing and sharing knowledge with the whole classroom (often referred to as the “sage on the stage“), students learn from exploring information, solving problems, and creating products. Teachers become facilitators by coaching and providing support and scaffolding to students (often referred to as the “guide on the side“).

  • What are the skills of effective facilitation?

Successful leader, entrepreneur, and blogger Danny Beckett Jr. posted tips in his blog regarding a good facilitator:

GOOD FACILITATORS ARE EXPERTS AT:

  1. Stimulating Discussion
  2. Generating ideas
  3. Fostering curiosity and excitement
  4. Stimulating dialogue
  5. Separating neutrality from passivity
  6. Producing Outcomes
  7. Listening, Listening, Listening

These tips hold true in the classroom! Teachers keep students moving forward and engaged in the project by listening, anticipating student needs, asking good questions, and providing support so students are not overwhelmed and give up.

  • Will the students develop the competencies and skills needed to be successful?

As a facilitator, the teacher is able to move around in the classroom in order to observe and communicate with students in the process. This freedom provides ample opportunities to detect knowledge gaps, differentiate instruction, and support students in their needs. If a student or group of students needs a mini-lesson on a topic or a “critical friend” to critique a product or idea, the teacher can provide this need while others in the classroom continue in their working.

  • What changes will you need to make in order to become an effective facilitator in your PBL unit?

Personally, I will need to continue practicing effective questioning techniques and developing scaffolding within projects to support student learning.  As my students struggle with content and math skills, I want to be able to guide them in the right direction to strengthen their math and project confidence.

 

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