We know it is important to let students struggle “productively” so they can develop social emotional skills like grit, flexibility and perseverance. But what about their teachers and their social emotional skills?
Before we get to this, a quick detour to Bangkok…
Two years ago, I led a multi-day workshop on project-based learning (PBL) for a large group of teachers. Because I wanted the teachers to experience PBL from a student perspective, I tasked them with identifying an urban problem in Bangkok, where many lived and where the workshop was held.
Teachers worked in teams to gather data, identify an urban problem, and design a detailed solution to that problem. They would then present their solution the next day to a team of urban planners and engineers and the best of these was to be “rewarded” with seed funding (replicating a real-world process).
At the end of our first day, the team of consultants who was observing this activity met to debrief. The news was not good: “They are confused,” said one consultant. The others agreed. This was not an observation. It was an indictment.