Monday, November 25, 2013

IBL is Fun!

Something that doesn't get talked about enough is how much fun it is to teach via IBL, when things are working well.  At workshops and conferences we focus on the benefits to students and the benefits to learning.  We bring out research papers from the education research literature, and discuss the benefits of active, student-centered instruction.  All these are appropriate and clearly the right thing to do, since there is evidence from literature on K-12 math, K-12 science, K-college non-STEM subjects, research on how people learn, and undergraduate STEM fields.  The evidence from a variety of sources, across subjects, through a long time span, and across education levels points in the same direction.  That's the argument from the scientific point of view.  But is it fun?  The answer is undoubtedly yes!

One aspects of IBL teaching that gets overlooked in our efforts to be careful and scientific is that at a basic level IBL courses are fun teach (when it's working well).  You get to be the mentor in the middle.  Students, who are initially tentative start to open up.  They do more, they show more, and then there are those special moments when you see students realize that they can be players in the game.  They enter the fray, respond, and contribute.

One of the great experiences as a teacher is working with students as a team with the goals of becoming better, smarter, and more knowledgable.  That's a wonderful process to be a part of.  Working with the students,... coaching, mentoring, celebrating the successes, getting through the brick walls, and seeing the development over time is highly rewarding.   The growth mindset is something you can see, and when the growth-mindset light bulb turns on, and you were there to be a part of it… that's magic! That's what makes it worth all those nameless late Tuesdays nights, grading, mulling, thinking of what to do next...  We might ask what this is all for?  And then you see the results, stand back, and smile.

IBL is fun!

Note: We'll have more posts in the future showcasing the transformative experiences students have had.  These experiences have not be capture in research papers yet, and we are collecting videos of students who can share their experiences in IBL classes.  These videos hit on "IBL is fun" and how rewarding it is professionally to be able to create a classroom culture, where such things are possible.