The best way to learn about CBL is to start personally. Identify a Big Idea that matters to you and then work through the phases to a solution that can be implemented and evaluated. Take the framework for a test drive, see where you need scaffolding and more attention, understand the transitions through the phases all the while solving a personal and meaningful challenge. It is a two for one deal!
This personal approach allows you to see the effectiveness of the framework before you get bogged down by the restrictions of the school and classroom. Often when considering implementing CBL, we get stuck in a cycle of “yes, buts” that revolve around time, standards, testing, content, student abilities, classroom control, etc., etc., etc. These are all real and important considerations but when placed front and center interfere with the ability to engage with the framework fully.
Anything we apply to the classroom needs to make sense personally. If we don’t fully buy into what we are doing the students will pick up on this and wonder why they should. Ultimately the CBL experience should be a “we are all in this together to solve important challenges while we learn” feeling.
To assist in starting with a personal approach, we have developed two examples. One is purely personal (Make Time!), and demonstrates what you can start with as an individual. The second is how you can start at the school level with a teacher-focused challenge (Reduce meeting time!), to try out the framework.
Time! You can not get a bigger Big Idea than time. We have a finite amount of it and an ever growing list of demands. If we can develop sustainable solutions to the challenges time presents in our lives then the the framework is a winner.
Meetings! And even more Meetings! Who does not think we should explore this big Idea and develop some sustainable solutions? This is a great challenge to explore as a team of teachers and administrators. It is a universal concern, and identifying solutions will be impactful.