notebook with '2021' on cover

What are your resolutions for the new year in your practice of PBL?

We asked that question on social media a few weeks ago. This time, it also seemed appropriate to add “or hope for” in our request, after the year that 2020 was.

We heard from many teachers and other educators. Worth noting: three of the following comments are from educators in other countries, which shows how PBL is growing world-wide. At the end of this post I've added a few thoughts of my own.


Here are the highlights:

"My hope is that teachers can continue to help their students make authentic connections to the world around them. I also hope to see teachers and students continue to find joy and excitement in teaching and learning during this current time, regardless of what their 'classroom' might look like."
- Laura Rahn, Loudoun County Public Schools, Virginia

"To implement the culture of PBL among younger kids’ teachers."
- Denise De Felice, Casa Thomas Jefferson, Brasilia, Brazil

"To create engaging projects that support inclusivity, include divergent thinking, and help foster a sense of empowerment in my students."
- Kari Stewart, Tice Creek School, Walnut Creek California

"I hope, as COVID catalyzes discussions on the future of education, we redesign schools so that students have more opportunities to connect authentically with the community: English classes talking with authors, science classes visiting laboratories, language students talking with native speakers — all students learning with and from the world around them!"
- Ryan Casey, Lexington High School, Lexington, Massachusetts

"Plan, implement, and evaluate PBL units for all grade levels (K-9) as part of a holistic training program for teachers new in PBL."
- Mariano Zuk, Hope International Academy Okinawa, Japan

"After years of refining and growing our PBL, I'm very confident of our "product." Now it's time to really sell it and show our community the richness of PBL. Marketing, marketing, marketing!"
- Sarah Payette, The Greenspire School, Traverse City, Michigan

"Find new ways to have students reflect on their PBL process/products."
- Ryan Kurada, University Elementary School, Rohnert Park California

"To go to more PBL training and complete and implement a PBL unit about the Spokane River for fall 2021."
- Rachael Kettner, Selkirk Middle School, Spokane, Washington

"Every unit as PBL, PBL for all!"
- Singa Lama, Golden Gate English Secondary School, Bhaktapur, Nepal

"We had our students showcase their PBL findings in the last two weeks of December. They were amazing! All of our middle and high schools participated and considering they were virtually learning, our students did great! The theme for semester one was 'change.' For second semester, the theme is 'resilience.' Our resolution is to select projects from both semesters from all 10 of our middle and high schools and showcase our students' findings in a TEDX virtual event."
- Esperanza Arce, Moreno Valley Unified School District, California


As for me and the staff at PBLWorks, we hope that...

More educators will recognize that PBL’s time is now, since the inadequacy of traditional instruction became apparent with remote learning during the pandemic.

More and more Black and brown students will experience high-quality PBL, because PBL works for all students and they (and their teachers) deserve it.

Schools, districts, and states will find themselves in a better financial situation as the economy recovers, and give teachers the support they need.

Teachers will design projects that promote civic engagement and equip students to solve big problems in our world — from racial injustice to climate change to voting rights to conspiracy thinking to… you can fill in the rest.

Here’s to all of our hopes being fulfilled, and sticking to our resolutions. Best wishes for 2021, everyone!

John Larmer, Editor in Chief
John is editor in chief at PBLWorks, where he has helped create professional development workshops and PBL curriculum materials. He writes for and edits the PBL Blog, and is the co-author of several books on PBL.