Culture Trumps All

I am a big proponent of PBL as a framework for student centered learning. But more and more I believe that culture is the most important part of a successful school or class. PBL can lead to creating that culture (but it is not an automatic thing!) but the culture is a separate thing.

In working with a new school I was able to challenge them with the opportunity that they had to create a culture from scratch. No student would be coming with any realistic pre-conceived notions about what the school will be like. They will be coming excited and curious to find out. The first days of school are critical for establishing the culture of the school every year. But it is more than how the year is launched, because culture is the norms that are actually lived through out the whole year.

I have had years that did not go well. Culture was the main reason why. The good news is that culture can always be re-created in a new year or shifted in the middle of the year. We are well over the half way mark of this school year, but it is still not too late to shift culture in your class.

Are you happy with your culture? What should you change? What should you keep?

2 thoughts on “Culture Trumps All

  1. John Larmer

    I agree, Michael – building the right culture is key to making PBL work. The Buck Institute for Education even made it one of the seven key Project Based Teaching Practices in our new model for “Gold Standard” PBL, which we’ll be blogging about soon.

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