542 PBL: Role of the Facilitator

A popular misconception about Project Based Learning is that once the unit begins the teacher’s job is done. Meticulous planning in the pre-unit stage by the teacher allows the teacher to act as facilitator of the project much like a project manager in a business setting. It is their responsibility to ensure progress and guide employees/students through the process, offering guidance and encouragement along the way. The manager/teacher must conduct standards based instruction to ensure success of the project and be flexible enough to alter the plan based on the evolution of the project and the needs of the students. The teacher/manager must conduct continuous formative assessment to ensure all learners are on track while providing customized instruction and direction for learners who require extra assistance. The teacher is responsible for the continued well being of the group process, ensuring all members of a collaboration are contributing in a positive manner. The teacher must continue to provide feedback to parents and staff on the progress of the unit and on individual students.

A teacher in a project based learning environment must be organized, flexible, a multitasker and must not be afraid to relinquish some control and direction within their class. The teacher must be willing to self assess and evaluate the effectiveness of their instruction and unit and be willing to make changes based on events in the class and student feedback.

For me personally, in delivering a project based unit I will need to be more “tuned in “ to the needs of the students once the project has begun in order to customize plans and instruction. I tend to over plan and can be somewhat rigid in lesson planning. Allowing for deviation from the planned course is something I will be aware of and work on.

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