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Responcity's Road to Problem-Based Learning

Problem-Based Learning and Responsibility

The term PBL can refer to four types of learning: Problem, Project, Process, or Product-Based Learning.

At Responcity, the type of PBL that we implement is Problem-Based Learning. This innovative method teaches students to take responsibility and to understand and solve problems. This approach lays the foundation for the development of the character traits of a “solutionary”. When students adapt the world view that they must act as responsible solutionaries, they learn to take it upon themselves to create a better world by addressing and solving pertinent global issues.  

Participants in the Responcity teacher development program will receive a comprehensive training manual that includes all of the hands-on techniques that they will need to know in order to successfully implement every stage of the program.

The manual includes:

  • Theoretical background
  • Practical tools and tips
  • Real-life examples about program implementation
  • Protocols for developing successful teamwork practices
  • Ideas about how to work with students
  • Materials for professional development, including effective and innovative teaching techniques

The teacher development guide was authored by Nir Bosco, who serves as the pedagogical coordinator for the High Tech High community in Israel. Nir coordinates visits of Israeli educators at High Tech High in San Diego to learn the pedagogy of PBL.

Engaged learning and problem-solving

Throughout the learning process, students identify municipal problems that are authentic and relevant to their world and then come up with creative solutions to them. 

  • Students solve problems through exciting collaborative and independent learning experiences.
  • Engaged learning encourages them to become emotionally and cognitively involved with their projects.
  • Students feel a sense of agency in implementing their solutions.

Bridging between academics and city life

The Responcity approach aims to solve one of the main challenges of education: enabling students to make connections between the curriculum and the real world.

  • Students become inspired to become City Solutionaries.
  • They learn to grapple with and solve real-world municipal problems that they identify on their own.
  • Students initially acquire skills on a municipal level, but over time they transcend beyond the local arena. 
  • The knowledge and sense of responsibility that they acquire become the foundation that they build upon in order to address and creatively solve global issues.

PBL KEY POINTS

Problem-based learning is a pedagogical method in which students work as a team to solve complicated, ill-structured problems rooted in the real world.

This approach is student-centered. The teacher acts as  a manager and a facilitator 

The teacher enhances the student's abilities for collaboration, self-direction, and critical thinking. 

Research on problem-based learning shows that it promotes critical thinking skills, communication skills, and cooperation.

RESPONCITY Road to Problem-Based Learning

1

Defining the problem

Students divide into groups, brainstorm problems in their city, define specific research question.

2

Information gathering

Students work with protocols (analyzing the problem, background research interviews /observations /questionnaires, data collection, decision-making, group discussion, tracking progress).

3

Preparation for meeting with the local government authorities

Students suggest problems and issues, formulate questions, list local government representatives they would like to meet (based on the issues raised).

4

Meeting with the local government authorities

Students present initial research, ask questions and raise issues, identify government partners for problem solving implementation.

5

Problem solving process

Focus on task, formulate a work plan, divide into work teams, meet with contact people/partners, joint work among groups, document the process, peer feedback.

6

Create final presentation & present to the mayor

7

Teacher/student evaluation

Student self-evaluation, teacher evaluation using pre-defined rubric.

8

Summary meeting & Community Change Celebration