TaNuj^'s Weblog

Coming from a horse’s mouth

Posted on: December 27, 2008

“PBL has been the gust of wind, which has brought the cool change in the terms of education” -Tanuj
A gift

This post is dedicated to the wonderful schooling year that I have been gifted with. This is a recount of my memories; memories that quite often send tears rolling, down my cheeks (relax, I’m only kidding). After all it’s been a mind-blowing year that we have had at our school. This year at Parramatta Marist High: learning, educating and development of year 9 students, took a leap into what we call PBL (Project/Problem Based Learning), as most of my blog readers have a fair idea about this system, so I will not go in-depth. But I will emphasize on the topic- education on a turning point. Its said many years ago, people would have to come to their chosen place of learning, carrying a burden of books, which were their only means of gathering information and gaining knowledge. For many years this how things worked, however it was in the late 19th century many ordinary individuals got introduced to the terms- technology (computers) and a software which we call “Internet”. Many thought bringing technology into practise would be useless, anyhow there was a wise man who gave technology a go, and it was from this, that we got introduced to 21st century learning. PBL is a step forward in the era of technology, many schools in our today’s society are trying to excel in this program. Many developed and developing countries are slowly but steadily adopting this system. Numerous schools are looking ahead, and educating their learners with the skills they will need to compete globally.

I feel proud to be saying my school happens to be the very first school to undertake PBL in whole of Australia. Even though we were ginny pigs (I guess its fair to say so), yet I feel so privileged and thankful for being chosen to experience such a thing. Education I have received through out this year has helped me and my mates become successful citizens of our country. But also the skills we have developed and gained is sure to help us lead to the pathway, which is bound to have a bright future. Good example of this would be-…through our course of PBL we had to go on a journey of completing a given task, task that could not be completed single handily. Students had to work with others in order to fully meet the needs of given project. This leads onto teamwork, which is one of the most important elements in the workplace. By this its evident we were not only taught normal Maths and English, alongside we were skilled with many lifetime learnings.

It was with such an extraordinary learning experience that we were offered to present our final product, to some of well-known individuals around our dioceses, these included- politicians, religious leaders and many others. Alongside we developed a healthy relationship amongst our teachers (they were superstars). I admit at the start students weren’t as engaged nor were we trying our absolute best. But as they say the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement, students slowly visualised the enormous amount of advantages, which were on offer and went on to take full advantage of them. At this I congratulate all of my teachers as they inspired and motivated all of their lovely learners =) to become more interested in their learning.

Nothing in this world comes without a struggle, similarly with our grade doing PBL, we got of to rocky start, and that was understandable as this was first time for teachers to be teaching in such a situation (no one is perfect). The main problem our teachers faced was that they would describe and clarify the project to students by giving us an entry document, yet students would often ask for various answers to questions, which were required from them in order to complete the given project. At this teachers sat together and came up with a solution. Solution was – for students to complete a given project, teachers would set out few other smaller activities which would then later lead onto the final product (bigger picture). In these smaller activities if student had problems, then teacher would simply show him/her the direction or the pathway he/she can take in order to complete the given task. Showing the pathway would be as simple as giving a list of Internet sites and telling the student “that your answers you seek lie somewhere within them”. This method in my opinion was far better than giving students a straight answer. This is a huge credit to our new PBL coordinator Gavin Hays and to all those teachers who want to that extra bit for their students (special mention to Karyn West and oh who can forget Lucy Gresser :). It was from this that the students and teachers at our school got a real boost, end result being, terrific and the most remarkable project were formed (religion and the technology department worked together as a unit forming tremendous, and well thought projects. On the other hand we had likes of Lucy Gresser, Dean Groom and few others working together, forming projects, which were well beyond our lavishing dreams. Good example of Write on, Write now). From then on everything went the right way up.

Teachers with whom I have been privileged to interact with and be taught by, were just tremendous, to be honest I have no such words to show my appreciation for them. At times things have been have been hard (that’s life), but it’s been my teachers and their pleasant talks, which has shone my mates and me the better aspect of an enjoyable learning. As a good friend of mine once said to me “The better people in the world learn to overcome the obstacles that life throws at them, because it will only make you stronger.” I now look forward to my schooling year in 2009 (wish you all a very happy new year), my goals aren’t completely set but one thing is for sure I’m willing to overcome any obstacles that lie in front of me, because I know I can do anything I dearly wish for. As in my dictionary there is no such word as impossible.



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