Choice in the HQPBL Experience

"Our parents bring us into the world, but in the end, we are responsible for what we become." - Kahlil Gibran

As an adult, these words ring true. While my parents' guidance and experiences set me on a path, it is my choice to follow in their footsteps, heal intergenerational traumas, pass on their teachings, or pick a different way. As a parent, these words ring true. I know that there is only so far I can take my children and only certain places I can travel with them. They, too, will have the chance to make their own choices as I did mine. As a teacher, I know that I also play a role. Parents and caregivers alone cannot provide all of the learning and guidance young people need to take full responsibility for themselves. That requires ongoing and wide-ranging modeling, practice, feedback, reflection, and practice (that bore repeating!) across contexts and content. It is both a duty and an opportunity, as educators, to support this work.

One of the many gifts of a constructivist approach to learning is that young people have the opportunity to make choices within a safe and supportive structure. This blog focuses on one constructivist approach to learning— High Quality Project Based Learning (HQPBL)— and offers ways to make space for student choice throughout the HQPBL experience. If you are new to HQPBL, learn more here!

Choice Throughout the Project Plan

The ACP team created the Project Learning Experiences Steps to aid in the understanding of what high-quality projects are and how they unfold.

There are three major steps:

  1. Launch Project and Inquiry

  2. Investigation Cycle(s)

  3. Present Products and Explain Learning

At each step, there are opportunities for students to be the designers and deciders of their experience. We offer suggestions for teachers and/or students new to PBL and those with more project experience.

When you are ready, download the Teacher Project Plan and start planning!