TaNuj^'s Weblog

08 – 09 – 10

Posted on: January 5, 2010

Hope you all have had mind-blowing holidays, well I certainly did. I thought I would take time off and recap over past years and in doing so try to figure where I went wrong and try to set goals for 2010 schooling year. I enjoy recapping over past experiences, because from them I am able to pick up my weakness and strengths.

It was my second (final) year of Project Based Learning. Project Based Learning these three words have changed not only how I think, but the way I act, live and communicate. The only reason why I ‘am blogging today is because of Project Based Learning, for I didn’t even know a term such as blog existed. This journey, my journey, my peers journey, my teachers journey started two years ago in year nine, my grade was the first in Australia to undertake PBL.

Two years ago, 2008. Coming off brilliant holidays (holidays are always so brilliant) I was much too relaxed entering the school grounds. There was chatter all around me, everyone was extremely excited looking at new classrooms, built just for year 9’s. Little did we know about the change that was going to enter our lives…

Chapter 1: THE SHOCK

We were handed out our timetables, and then told to move of to our homerooms (morning roll call). Everyone was gazing around a massive class(old study Hall) trying to pick up various details of the room.  First it was 10 students who entered the room then 30 , 40 , 50 ,60…What? 60 students in a class with 2 teachers. Bunch of 60 kids meeting after holidays, oh boy the conversations were taking place all over the class. I smiled to myself, on the thought of poor teachers and the nightmare they would have to bare. This was the first shock to all of us including teachers. 

Within a few days we were hit with another shock, the very first project. It was a mess I tell you, the project made many of us (students) go crazy, there was so much confusion. From using books and pen, now it was laptop and computers. Rather than learning, understanding  and doing work all by yourself now it was group that you had to be a part of. Teachers struggled to teach, they were confused themselves.

Chapter 2: DON’T CARE

“I’ll just copy and paste things, as if  teachers will know.” “Have you heard Jay Sean’s new single? hang on I will play it with low sound, teachers wouldn’t know.” “Can’t be stuffed doing any work  it’s all about having fun dude, we can do what ever we want on these computer, hey – let’s go on Facebook I’ll show you my pic.” ” Whenever teachers come around just change the window or the tab.” “I love this PBL thingo it’s like a blugger’s heaven.” “I’ll just let all my other group members do all the work.”

Many students including me lost our focus we were sucked into a habit of wasting our time in class. I for one couldn’t care less about the things that teachers were saying standing in front, for me it was recounting things I did yesterday after school with my mates. On computers it was just copy&paste, alongside music and games (in a classroom).

My first few blogs show you the phase that I was going through…

Now that I think about it, the reason behind  my attitude was mainly due to the lack of attention that teachers were giving me. Even though I was doing the wrong thing my teachers didn’t say anything to me, considering they to were aware of it- my low in class marks must have meant something. For teachers I just didn’t exist, it was as though I was an invisible ghost. I wasn’t provided with any words of encouragement. Yet I don’t blame teachers, it was entirely my fault.

Chapter 3: ANOTHER CHANGE…no not again

The whole grade was jumbled up again,  many were put into different classes. My attitude remained same, it wasn’t just one subject it was all the subjects. My lack of enthusiasm brought along many failures but I would  just close my eyes and refuse to see them. First time I was approached by a teacher, he/she wanted to see me because I wasn’t contributing to my group, I was given a warning, that really didn’t make  a major difference to me or my attitude. Then came the real hiccup- Half yearly exams, report, parent teacher meeting. I don’t think I need write about the nightmare that I lived. My marks were VERY poor, it didn’t really  matter to me, but it was the disappointment in the eyes of my loved ones and those around me. It was as though they were ashamed of me, ashamed of my marks, so they should be especially after all the bad things teachers had to say about me, funny they didn’t say anything to me in the class, but sitting there they were highlighting everything.

Chapter 4: HELPING HAND

The term holidays had passed there was a slight difference in my attitude I was at least starting to try and put a bit of effort in. We had project based on Shakespeare we had to act out one of his plays. I have always enjoyed acting :), this project got my engine started. Next came the project so called Greenup 2145, meanwhile a group of teachers had visited Michigan,  America and got training for PBL, so now they to were getting a hang of it. But what was going to happen next I couldn’t even dream of. Greenup 2145 this project was based on Ning  this is where I got into blogging. I was still a bit down on enthusiasm, we were told to log on to the site and start contributing  to it, as well as start blogging, I really didn’t think to big of it then. It was just another project after all.  

Just for the sake of it I to wrote a blog. To my great surprise someone had commented on it, it read …

This is an extremely thorough and detailed response Tanuj! It is really wonderful to see you reflecting on your learning and breaking the project down into what is expected of you. I can certainly see you setting goals for yourself and for your group which absolutely allowing your self to be open to a great learning experience!

It was from my teacher, that very comment ignited my engine… I knew that this was my only chance to make everyone around me proud of myself…soon I was starting to gain comments such as…

I really like this post. It is easy to see what you are doing and that you are identifying clear issues to focus on. I wonder if you might put your conclusion at the end next time? I look forward to starting seeing you deliver on these elements, and I’d suggest that you keep using interesting post tiles (like you have here) to clearly identify what you are writing about. Don’t forget – you can do more than one post a day and this is turning into a great read already.

A great post Tanuj. One of the best I have read so far! Keep up the good work.

I can see your dedication and commitment to achieving great results for this project for both yourself AND your group. The information you have gathered is excellent and the way you are sharing your resources as well is a huge credit to you. Well done.

I just wish I was Tanuj. You keep raising the bar

This was my starting point to aim and reach for my various goals, that very year I was awarded PBL student of the year award. I will never be able to thank my teachers enough for all that they did for me, keeping in mind this encouragement further helped me to strive for excellence in other subjects as well.

Chapter 5 : UNDERSTANDING THE SYSTEM

Next step in my journey was to understand the reason behind all the hype surrounding the educational reform- Project Based Learning. Many visitors were coming to my school, all wanting to explore PBL. What was so great about this system? To figure out I started to analyse it.

-Entry document: problem is highlighted, students are given a particular situation that they would have to work upon. Whilst working upon problem, students would be gaining the content they need to understand and learn as per the syllabus.

-Rubric: Marking Criteria. Its concise and out lines each and everything that will marked, moreover how will it be marked.

-Know&Need To Know: From the information given about the project what do you know and what you would need to know in order to complete the given task . Highlight skills and knowledge that you would need learn.

-Group Task: Group component, student had to work together amongst other group members and complete the task. Gather all the information together, in doing so teach and learn from other students  in the group.  

-Individual Task: Individual component of the project, to make sure every student is up to date, and has gained necessary information. It could be as simple as an individual test.

-Presentation: Showcasing the work conducted over the period of project. Final end-product, solution to the problem.

-Feedback: areas done well (what was good?, why was it good?) areas that need improvement (work upon weakness). Marks given.

Chapter 6: Entry into 2-digit – ( yr. 10) 2009

To be quite frank year 10 wasn’t as fun, I always thought that something was missing or something was wrong/different.  Firstly going into Year 10 my mindset wasn’t right, I was expecting a lot more.  Hands of to the CST/IST (Catholic Studies and Information Software technology) department, the project they created were just brilliant, there were just so engaging, every time it was something new, something exciting. Students always looked forward to the lauch of another project in CST/IST. I was more than happy with the way things were happening in CST/IST… an example

As far as Social studies (English, History, Geography) was concerned things weren’t quite the same, I completely understand that there was a lot more content to get through considering we had school certificate exams at the end of the year, yet some improvement could have been made. The projects that were rolled out didn’t have direct linkage with content and the end product. The main idea of PBL was apply the given knowledge into real life scenarios, with social studies it just didn’t work in my class. We weren’t meant to be doing end product just for sake of it. To be quite honest I really didn’t find Social Studies as interesting or as engaging, it lacked creativity.     

Chapter 7: TOOLS THAT I PICKED UP

In last 2 years I have picked up many vital skills that bound to help in future….some of them include

– Use of technology

– How to apply technology to gain most out of it

-Learn to work amongst friends and foes

-Strive for the best 

– Think outside the square 

– Look at the bigger picture

– Conduct research tasks

– Self Confidence

-Will to learn more

– Self motivation

More than anything Project Based Learning as taught me to have a laugh while working: enjoy studying or doing whatever that best interest me. It has taught never to give up and seek more answers. My best learning would have to be – There are two doors to get inside the house if the front door doesn’t work then try the back door.

2010: I will be entering yr.11 another educational reform is going to take place so called 151, stay tuned…  

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3 Responses to "08 – 09 – 10"

A very good snapshot of the last two years. You forgot to mention how much hair I have lost! I think more teachers need to access information like this as this is the only way to improve teaching and learning. Well done with the edublog nomination.

Ah Tanuj. Awesome blog.

-Mr Hays; haha yeah the hair’s seemed to be going down at a substantial rate since ’08 😛

Do a Shane Warne!

hahaha thnx mate…a bit confused as 2 who u r ???

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