Solving real-life problems makes learning relevant, and prepares students for 21st century careers.
Sounds good, but how does it really work?
Literally, transdisciplinary problem-based learning mean “across all disciplines.” So rather than learning about one, two or even three content areas, with TPBL the goal is to look at every possible content area to find solutions to relevant problems. That’s how life works: we have real problems, we need real solutions.
Problem-based learning is an overarching instructional strategy that provides the framework for building content-rich projects that are aligned with the standards. Guided by their teacher and the Design Cycle, students systematically solve the problem.
Integrated learning leads to integrated solutions.
The TPBL classroom looks and feels different. Teachers and students become co-planners, co-learners, co-producers, and co-evaluators as they design, implement, evaluate, modify, and share the products. Students take responsibility for their own learning. Lectures are dramatically shortened and textbooks are used mostly for reference.
Classrooms are active and vibrant. As one teacher said, “Problem-solving for 7th and 8th graders can be frustrating but it leads to achievement. My job is to offer the challenges and then let them figure it out from there. It can look like chaos, but that’s where the fun teachable moments happen.”
Mistakes happen, too, and that’s okay. There are no failures – only opportunities to modify, fix and course-correct.
As in every aspect of life, lessons learned when actively engaged in solving problems make a bigger impact.