Really live in a forest when you have to

I have never heard of the PBL and case study as a method to teaching before, but now that I have thought more about it, it sounds so tempting.

The first time that I read about these methods, bunch of words popped up in my mind: TIME CONSUMING, unmanageable classroom, unfair, and so on. Followed by these words was a long list of questions: how to manage a crowded classroom using this method?, what is the point of using that?, will the method offer more to students?, and so on.

briefly, I just tried to stay open-minded and did not object to the method immediately. I kept reading the article of “Dan Tries Problem-Based Learning: A Case Study” and the number of questions increased. I kept thinking about the reason to go through all of these troubles. Students will learn everything that they really need for their jobs eventually in working atmosphere.  I was looking for something helping me really understand the method and then it hit me!

Assume two individuals living their lives. One of them lives a normal life in an standard urban atmosphere. Everything is ready for him and he just has to manage his schedule around to buy stuffs that he needs. There is a possibility that he might have to live in a forest all alone for a while without any technological device. He has learned about survival in the forest by reading books. The other one, though, lives in a forest by himself. He has to find his own food, warn himself up and everything that keep him alive. Do you think that the first person will survive the way that the second one does in the forest? Don’t you think that it was a better method of learning if he really has tried to live in similar situation for a while, maybe not even in the real forest, just a similar situation?

Although the example is an exaggeration that might never happen, but the essences is PBL learning and it helped me to really feel the advantages of this method.

1 thought on “Really live in a forest when you have to

  1. I cannot agree more. Very often I end up in a conversation with someone who has become an “expert” in a certain field. Typically what I find is that they have no applicable knowledge in that field and really have nothing more than a book knowledge about the subject. I have also found that these same people, because they are “experts”, end up administrating and managing the people that are on the ground working even though they themselves have never worked “in the trenches”. In so many positions it should be required that people have real world experience before they find themselves managing work that they don’t truly understand.

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