‘Most Likely to Succeed’ Seen by 200+ In Tucson
On October 17th, Tucson-based CITY Center for Collaborative Learning and The Loft Cinema presented the documentary film, Most Likely to Succeed with support from CommunityShare, EdLeader21, Tucson Values Teachers, and the UA College of Education. The screening was followed by a panel discussion that included Valerie Greenhill (EdLeader21 President & Co-Founder), Steve Holmes (Superintendent of Sunnyside School District), Angelique Montaño (City High School Student, Class of 2017), and Bob Pearlman (National 21st Century Schools). The panel discussion was moderated by Carrie Brennan (Executive Director, CITY Center for Collaborative Learning).
I think everyone who saw the screening would agree, the MLTS film made a pretty convincing case that the 120 year old way, we do schooling in America may have been appropriate for the late 19th century and most of the 20th century (when a growing industrial economy needed an abundance of workers who could read, write, and do arithmetic) – but doesn’t cut it in the 21st century (when critical thinking/problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity/innovation) are just as important. Today’s young people need the “Four Cs” just as much as the “Three Rs” (see NEA’s Preparing 21st Century Students for a Global Society – An Educator’s Guide to the “Four Cs”).
The film was not making the case, however, that somehow infusing the Four Cs into our present school structures (‘factory model’ structures created in 1890 to prepare young learners for industrial age jobs) – is all that is needed. Instead, it called for a complete redesign of the way we do schooling and provided a real example (High Tech High in San Diego) to help us imagine how structural redesign might look in our schools. MLTS presents Project Based Learning at High Tech High in theory and practice (through interviews with HTH school designers and teachers), takes us through two different grade level projects from start to finish, and highlights the PBL experience of two individual HTH students. Whereas ‘Most Likely to Succeed’ is not the first attempt to convince America that project-based learning and student-centered learning environments are a better way to structure schooling in the 21st century – it might be the best yet at showing us in 90 minutes (not just telling) what PBL is all about.
Got MLTS! So What’s Next?
As I was watching the film I could not help but think of how exciting yet daunting it must feel to teachers and other adults who work with and within schools – when they first hear about project-based learning at this scale – but at the same time know that their own schools are still using the 120 year-old ‘factory model’ as the structure for their learning environments.
We at CITY Center for Collaborative Learning anticipated that many might feel this way and so are hosting several ‘residency workshops’ including the PBL/CommunityShare Residency Workshop designed for those who are excited about implementing Project Based Learning but need to see it/feel it up-close and be able to discuss what they are seeing/feeling with colleagues before they proceed with planning and implementation.
The PBL/CommunityShare Residency Workshop is a day-long, PBL immersion experience for adult learners who want to understand deeply how teachers design and implement BIE ‘Gold Standard’ project-based units of instruction and how classroom/community partnerships (supported by CommunityShare) deepen that process. The day will include guided observations of classrooms in a PBL demonstration environment, facilitated collegial discussion of these observations using School Reform Initiative protocols, presentation of ideas/instructional tips from JoAnn Groh* (the principal and co-founder of Paulo Freire Freedom School – Downtown), and conversations with members of the CommunityShare Educator Advisory Team.
** “The National Faculty team is a hand-picked group of seasoned teachers, administrators, school coaches, authors, and PBL experts who conduct professional development activities on behalf of BIE. Each National Faculty member brings his or her own areas of expertise as well as a comprehensive understanding of the BIE Project Based Learning (PBL) model, an instructional reform approach that embodies student-centered, 21st century teaching and learning. In addition to leading PBL professional development activities in the U.S. and abroad, the National Faculty also functions as a professional learning organization, where members innovate, develop and share PBL practices and knowledge.” (excerpt from http://www.bie.org/people/national-faculty)