A range of classroom instructional strategies have been gaining popularity in recent years, and GEAR UP is at the front of the curve.
You may have heard of a few of the strategies such as Inquiry Based Learning, Personalized Learning, Project Based Learning, Problem Based Learning and Design Thinking. While each represents a leap forward in classroom instructional practices, the fundamental block that they build upon is putting students in the driver’s seat of their own learning experiences.
As most educators know, today’s students need to be engaged active learners with an opportunity to question what they learn and how they learn it. Furthermore, this generation of students prefer to have a purpose and opportunity to connect their learning to the real world. Here lies the instructional evolution that has lead Appalachian GEAR UP to Challenge Based Learning (CBL). Through this CBL framework:
How do we engage students in real challenges being faced in their communities?
How do we scaffold those challenges in a way that relates to our state-mandated content standards?
How do we provide authentic assessment experiences that encourage students to think about their thinking and learn from the leaders of their community?
Finally, how do we empower students so they aren’t only participating in a postsecondary education experience but also having the confidence to return to their community as a leader?
This year GEAR UP aims to answer these questions and others like them through a year long project called RootEd. Appalachian GEAR UP, in partnership with Constructive Learning Design, will facilitate a series of workshops and coaching sessions with teachers in three GEAR UP districts. These sessions will explore the three key components of the CBL framework (engage, investigate, act) as well as provide the foundation for students to address local challenges.