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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What is the Problem-Based Model of Teaching?

When mentoring our pre-service and in-service teachers we need to describe and model both research-based and clinically tested best practices. Accordingly, our mentees should know about the Problem-Based Model of Teaching.

The Problem-Based Model of Teaching

The problem-based model of teaching invites students to investigate complex, authentic, and meaningful issues or questions initially framed by the teacher. The critical features of this model involve these elements (*Arends, 2001).

· Driving question or problem: Students investigate socially important, personally meaningful, real-life situations that defy simple and superficial explanations.

· Interdisciplinary focus: Although the problem investigated may be centered in a particular subject area, its solution will often require knowledge of other disciplines.

· Authentic learning investigation: Students are expected to apply the investigative tools of the discipline. Thus, if they are doing a scientific study, students will (a) define the problem; (b) generate hypotheses; (c) collect and analyze data; (d) conduct experiments, and (e) draw conclusions. If they were doing an historical study, they would be expected to examine original sources, share context, evaluate evidence, offer different interpretations, and state conclusions.

· Production of artifacts and exhibits: Students construct products, (e.g. a report, mock debate, video, computer program, song, poem, dance, rap, etc.), display artifacts, (e.g. original documents, interviews, tapes, etc.), and produce exhibits (e.g. physical model, posters, portfolios, etc.) to demonstrate their understanding, and present a possible solution/s to the problem investigated.

· Collaboration: Like the cooperative learning model, the problem-based instructional model involves students working together, interdependently, in small groups while being individually accountable for their learning.

*Arends, R. (2001). Learning to Teach. (Fifth Edition). Boston: McGraw-Hill.

On the next post we will describe the five steps of the Problem-Based Model of Teaching.

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