After I read Shelly Wright’s article, it dawned on me that it’s okay to take risks in the classroom, if not preferable. I think that Shelley Wright is a great inspiration for educators who are afraid to change their ways of instruction, and to add some “spice” in the way they want their students to learn. By implementing project-based learning in her classroom for the first time, I don’t think it mattered to Wright what the museum would look like as much as the amount of information she wants her students to learn through their “inquiry, collaborative, and project-based learning” and she becoming more of a “facilitator” rather than the “all-knowing guru”. And even though it was her first time to implement project-based learning with her students, I think she handled it like a pro. I loved how she respected her students by first explaining what it is and how it works because it was “unfamiliar” to them. Most educators would implement teaching and learning methods that are novel to their students without allowing their students to digest the transition from the old to the new.
The other thing that dawned on me is that taking risks in the classroom WILL bring up challenges, like when her students became stuck at one of the phases of the project, and that’s okay because these challenges are what will perfect the next time teachers use their ideas with their new students. Wright handled that challenge by using her PLN to seek for other professionals’ aid, and it worked! She was presented with a video that she let her students view which stimulated discussion and excitement which allowed the project to resume.
Project-based learning is something that is not only not implemented in classrooms back in my country, but also unfamiliar by both teachers and students; teachers are “the sage on the stage” and students receivers of information. I’ve been an advocate of students taking ownership of their learning ever since I became a student in the US, and determined to let my students do so, and project-based learning is a great strategy to do that. However, I don’t think I will be able to implement it in my classroom for the first time right away, or do what Wright did with her students by explaining what is. I certainly will not and cannot start “cold turkey” for 1- this will overwhelm students, and 2- they lack the resources (technological resources mostly) to do their research and collaboration. I will be determined to shift the control from me to them gradually, provide them with motivation to boost their confidence that they can do it, and provide them with technological resources for researching and collaborating.
If this is not taking risk in the classroom, I don’t know what is.