Problem Control


My master’s this fall consists of an action research project, and I have decided to complete a project on problem-based learning and critical thinking within my Physics 20 course. Today I finally developed my classroom tools for my first action and I must say, that I am a little nervous.

I feel that students get BETTER learning out of problem-based scenarios because they encourage creative thinking, personal reflection, and comprehension of the governing laws and ideals of the universe. That being said, it is terrifying! I finished planning my lessons and found that I struggled giving room for my students to control the learning. I kept writing in bullets on what they should consider and how to go about the task, and inevitably had to delete about half of what I had typed. I am having trouble with the line between guiding and leading my instruction.

This week I’ll have to revisit my academic reading and previous reflections on WHAT I WANT TO TRY and the best methods to try it with… but let me reiterate that giving up control is scary. I WANT it to be done (as in I want to give the students control) but I really don’t know where it is going to lead – I guess that is the exciting part.

Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated. πŸ™‚

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2 thoughts on “Problem Control

  1. Good for you! Giving up micromanaging it hard and I’m not sure I’m always successful at it… as evidenced by my desire to give you suggestions. πŸ™‚
    Even though you ultimately erased all the baby steps, it was still useful to brainstorm them so that you ask better guiding questions. It’s important for you to know possible pathways before they start, not all possible pathways, but at least one, so that you know the task is possible and so that you can give more specific feedback along the way. An option is to keep that list at the ready so that when you have a student that really doesn’t know where/how to start you have options for them or use it as structure for when your students peer review each other’s plans or self reflect along the way.

    Good luck with the implementation of this in your class. It’ll be worth the effort at the end of the semester when you see how far they have come- or when you get next semester’s new group and realize how far they have to go!;)

    • Thanks for the advice…. I will be sure to give some structure πŸ™‚ I already have a few pathways that I can see… but you never know what is going to come up πŸ˜€ ! Specific feedback is a good point, I may need to reconsider a portion of my implementation.

      I really like the list idea… especially for the start. I’ll try that. I appreciate the encouragement πŸ™‚

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