Project based learning has been around for a long time. It’s success in increasing student engagement and even test scores has been measured, published, and touted by innovators in education for years. So why is it so difficult for us as educators to adopt this method in their own classrooms? In “Leading Change: Establish a Sense of Urgency”, Dr. John Kotter references fictional ‘Harry’, a member of an organization who has been asked to participate on a committee to create change in the organization. ‘Harry’ has 112 other things on his plate so he is hesitant, or to use Dr. Kotter’s word, complacent (Kotter, 2013). This illustrates the difficulty in bringing meaningful change to the classroom. We are already so overwhelmed by our laundry list of responsibilities, how can we be enthusiastic about adding something new? The key is in Simon Sinek’s theory that “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” (Sinek, 2013). To be motivated to accept the challenge of project based learning, we must remember the why. What teacher among us doesn’t want to provide her students with engaging lessons? Prepare them for the future? Make their learning relevant? Impact the community? We already have the desire to do all of these things. When we realize that they can be accomplished through project based learning, we can create the sense of urgency necessary to facilitate change.
YouTube. (2013). Leading Change: Establish a Sense of Urgency. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Yfrj2Y9IlI&feature=youtu.be. YouTube. (2010). How great leaders inspire action | Simon Sinek. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp0HIF3SfI4.
To find out more about the Join the Club project based learning initiative, click here.