Can PBL promote inclusion in a classroom?

I believe people have different skills when learning. That is, I may understand biology easier than my colleague, while math may seem quite easy for that person and a nightmare to myself (which it actually is. Mention statistics near me and I’ll go a week without sleeping). I also believe that, it is because we have different skills at learning, that we learn better different subjects.
I was therefore, intrigued when reading and watching videos of problem based learning this week. It is quite interesting the idea of making students to research different topics on different subjects, often resulting in group discussions, in order to solve a problem posed by the teacher. I believe this approach can be quite successful for not only breaking the routine of a classroom, where the teacher has most of participation, but also because it allows other skills to be developed by the students.

I do however believe that while this approach may be advantageous for students who are easily engaged into problem solving, some other students may be more engaged in learning through the traditional, or other methods, of delivering the content (such as reading materials, youtube videos, documentaries, etc).

Nonetheless, I am happy to be introduced into the problem based learning strategy and will happily add it to my “teaching strategies Batman utility belt”. I ultimately believe it is by providing different methods of delivering the content that will more accurately adapt to the different learning skills of students in a class and I’m sure the PBL methodology is a good tool to explore different learning skills in the classroom.


6 Replies to “Can PBL promote inclusion in a classroom?”

  1. Thanks for your post. I strongly agree that each student has different preferences and tendencies in the topic and subject in the learning process.
    In the traditional ways of learning, usually, some teachers impose one way or one subject for all students regardless of differences and tendencies and they assume that everything is fine. I like how you describe your feeling about math” Mention statistics near me and I’ll go a week without sleeping”, and this is really funny ^^, I understand that because I have the same feeling regard studying theories and literary. I have found that problem-based learning is very useful to deal with this issue by providing a suitable environment for students to research different topics on several subjects, often resulting in group discussions. I think this method is very effective because it allows other skills to be developed by the students.

  2. I am wondering how do you distinguish students that “are easily engaged into problem solving” from others. I think the premise of this method is students get easily engaged when they face a real problem and in this way they learn better.

    1. Hey, thanks for your comment.

      I think there’s no way for you to know which students are “easily engaged into problem solving” other than getting to know the profile of the students throughout the semester. Because of this, I believe we need to provide various methods of teaching (powerpoint, videos, documentaries, projects,…) and therefore try to engage different profile of students at the same time. I believe this is a good strategy to promote inclusion.

  3. I agree with you that Problem-based Learning (CBL) can encourage inclusion in the classroom. However, the opposite effect can occur, also, if the discussions are not managed. I think that it is the responsibility of the instructor to make sure everyone’s voice is heard. During open discussions, studies (i.e., Deborah Tannen) have shown that extroverted people and men are most likely to speak. The discussion leader will need to make space for more contributions.

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