Sunday, September 28, 2014

Proficiency Based Learning - Do We Really Know What It Is?

Proficiency Based Learning (PBL) is the hot topic of today, and something we as educators are all trying to grapple with in our classrooms. Many teachers believe that we are to meet the students needs based on where they are in their education, while others believe that we are to have a set standard and students have to at least follow this in our classroom. Thus my question occurs- Do we really know what PBL is and how can we can get everyone on the same page?

Are teachers now to have a set program in our classroom and loose our individuality? If this is the case, and I dread if it is, then how can we impose creativity and individuality with our students? Creativity and individuality are something that many companies are looking for, since it seems many are loosing this "technique" due to technology and 'normed' education.

Now, I am all for PBL, as I think it best benefits the student. Yet, I do believe that we need to meet the students needs. Thus the need for more differentiated classrooms set on student needs, versus a clear heterogeneous classroom. This would not only make it easier to teach and meet such needs, but allow students to feel more comfortable in the classroom. Many students have expressed to me that if s/he are in a classroom that is speaking at a higher or lower level, then s/he becomes disengaged due to either not comprehending or being bored by what is being said. Thus, the need to have teacher feedback, testing information, current work analyzed, along with student input to see where the student should be placed. Now this placement can change at any time, due to the student needing more or less support or understanding more or less than anticipated. Thus, PBL at work!

Therefore, I leave you with my last question- is this possible? Is what I dream of in my classroom with the grouping and movement of students available today to not only help the students learn, but help my teaching of all students? Has anyone done this successfully and if so, how?