Transforming pedagogy: changing perspectives from teacher-centered to learner-centered

Jana Brubaker

ET

Dole, S., Bloom, L., and Kowalske, K.  (2016).  Transforming pedagogy: changing perspectives from teacher-centered to learner-centered.  Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, 10(1).

This article reviews the similarities and differences of problem-based learning and project-based learning, which was interesting to me.  Both are inquiry based, and have similar processes, but different results.  Project-based learning results in a product, or an artifact, while problem-based learning results in solutions rather than products.  One important similarity between the two is the role of the teacher as a facilitator or a coach.  Another similarity is that both are cross-curricular and emphasize student choice.  Both contain what is needed for deeper learning and content mastery.  This deeper learning transfers to other contexts.  
Although research is beginning to show that these models of learning produce deeper learning, they are difficult to implement in schools that are focused on standards-based learning and assessment.  Such a big change in pedagogy takes time.  Teachers need to be able to discuss, think about, and practice teaching in this way before implementing it.  The authors conducted a field study in which they offered an online summer course, with one week of field experience, on both models of learning.  After returning to the classroom, they interviewed the teacher participants to find out if they were using these models of learning. Sixty-four percent of the teachers said that they were still using the models due to the course and field experience and 100% said they would recommend those models to others.

Most of the teachers said it was a great learning experience for them.  They learned how to maintain order in an environment that appears more chaotic.  They were able to focus on critical thinking and problem solving skills in a new way.  They learned how to differentiate and allow students to take control of their learning.  Student participants also had positive experiences.  Classroom climate was reportedly better.  Student-teacher relationships improved too. Overall, the article helped me gain a better grasp of the differences between the two teaching models.

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