Gold Standard PBL: Project Based Teaching Practices

When transitioning to PBL, one of the biggest hurdles for many teachers is the need to give up some degree of control over the classroom, and trust in their students. But even though they are more often the “guide on the side” than the “sage on the stage,” this most certainly does not mean that teachers don’t “teach” in a PBL classroom. Many traditional practices remain, but are reframed in the context of a project.

What is Gold Standard PBL? To help teachers do PBL well, we created a comprehensive, research-informed model for PBL to help teachers, schools, and organizations measure, calibrate, and improve their practice. In Gold Standard PBL, projects are focused on students' acquiring key knowledge, understanding, and success skills.

 

Gold Standard PBL. Seven Project Based Teaching Practices. Wheel illustration has icons for each of the elements, as outlined below. At center of wheels is Learning Goals – Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills.

Gold Standard Project Based Learning by PBLWorks is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Seven Project Based Teaching Practices

illustration of container of pens and pencils

Design & Plan

Teachers create or adapt a project for their context and students, and plan its implementation from launch to culmination while allowing for some degree of student voice and choice.

illustration of stars

Align to Standards

Teachers use standards to plan the project and make sure it addresses key knowledge and understanding from subject areas to be included.

illustration of network of people

Build the Culture

Teachers explicitly and implicitly promote student independence and growth, open-ended inquiry, team spirit, and attention to quality.

illustration of clipboard

Manage Activities

Teachers work with students to organize tasks and schedules, set checkpoints and deadlines, find and use resources, create products and make them public.

illustration of ladder

Scaffold Student Learning

Teachers employ a variety of lessons, tools, and instructional strategies to support all students in reaching project goals.

illustration of magnifying glass

Assess Student Learning

Teachers use formative and summative assessments of knowledge, understanding, and success skills, and include self and peer assessment of team and individual work.

.

illustration of two speech bubbles

Engage & Coach   

Teachers engage in learning and creating alongside students, and identify when they need skill-building, redirection, encouragement, and celebration.

.

Watch These Gold Standard PBL Teaching Practices Tutorials

VIDEO: Design and Plan

This video focuses on how teachers can create or adapt a project for their context and students, and plan its implementation.

VIDEO: Scaffold Student Learning

This video focuses on how teachers can employ a variety of lessons, tools, and instructional strategies to support all students in reaching project goals.

VIDEO: Engage and Coach

This video focuses on how teachers can engage in learning and creating alongside students, and identify when they need skill-building, redirection, encouragement, and celebration.

For more great Gold Standard PBL resources...

 

See our book Project Based Teaching: How to Create Rigorous and Engaging Learning Experiences. 

Check out the Project Based Teaching Rubric to get a detailed description of what each of the seven Project Teaching Practices looks like.

Read the white paper about Gold Standard PBL: Project Based Teaching Practices.