In my first years as a teacher, I spent hours and hours preparing for each lesson plan…and we should make sure they are very carefully thought out! But I’ve changed the questions that I ask myself when planning.

I used to think…

What information or skills do I need to convey to the students? What is the most exciting way to convey it?

In fact, I thought problem-based or discovery-based learning was simply a way to motivate students to learn the information I wanted to convey. The problem with this thinking is that I was doing all the intellectual work for the students.

Now I think…

What scenario or context can I create that allows the students to behave more like a disciplinarian in the field?

Problem-based learning is now more about the essential ways of thinking that should be distinct goals of learning. I don’t want my students to only learn content or procedures. I want them to learn how to discover knowledge. That’s quite a different way to think about planning.