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August 9, 2017
BIE’s National Faculty: The “Practitioner Approach” to Delivering PBL PD

by Aaron Michael
Journalist

What does this entrepreneurial high school business teacher in Columbus, Ohio have in common with this tech-minded STEM and Innovation Coach in Dallas, Texas and this 3rd grade teacher in Hawaii who is passionate about community-based PBL? They are all part of the BIE National Faculty, a group of over 80 educators who are responsible for bringing BIE’s professional development and expertise to schools all over the country.

Regular readers of the BIE blog are used to seeing profiles of amazing educators come down the feed under the header “Meet the BIE National Faculty.” And indeed, BIE’s National Faculty (or NF) are some of the most inspiring PBL minds in the country. But what exactly does the NF do, and what kind of people are selected for the job?

What does the BIE National Faculty do?
The NF are often the first ambassadors of BIE’s pedagogical approach for the schools and teachers BIE works with. NF members facilitate BIE’s “Project Based Learning 101” workshops and make follow-up visits to schools to support teachers in their PBL implementation and provide more in-depth professional development. NF members also work directly with instructional coaches, helping to expand their strategies to effectively support PBL teachers at their school sites. A further subset of the NF facilitate the PBL Leadership Development workshops at PBL World and PBL Institutes around the U.S. to help school and district leaders create the conditions for PBL to thrive in classrooms and schools.

An integral part of the BIE professional learning community, the NF regularly provide feedback to BIE on its services, and model the BIE core practices of continuous and collaborative learning. Members of the NF also beta test new professional development offerings, and help identify, design, and facilitate PBL 201 workshops on teaching practices that support and sustain PBL, such as the use of rubrics, scaffolding for English Learners, and aligning projects to standards.

All in all, they are the “boots on the ground” who bring BIE’s expertise into the field. Since they are all talented PBL practitioners in their own right, they bring a unique and valuable twist to their delivery of BIE’s pedagogy.

What kind of people become BIE National Faculty?
The simple answer is: seasoned and inspired educators who are experts in PBL. Beyond that, the NF come from all kinds of professional backgrounds within the world of education. There are K-12 teachers, instructional coaches, school leaders, and district administrators. Some are teachers on special assignment (TOSAs) and independent consultants. Some work all year round, and others mainly in the summer, when the bulk of BIE’s workshops happen. Regardless of their professional backgrounds, they all share certain core traits:

  • In-school experience with PBL or leadership in a PBL school
  • Deep interest and passion in PBL
  • An equity mindset
  • Extensive facilitation experience in adult learning

With those qualifications in mind, BIE seeks out the strongest educators in the country.

Additionally, there is a constant effort at BIE to expand the diversity of the team; they look for experience in all kinds of subject matter, at all grade levels, and in all types of school contexts. The ideal National Faculty member can work with Kindergarten to 12th grade teachers, and are just as comfortable working with first-time PBL explorers as they are with PBL veterans.

Two times a year, BIE hosts a summit for all of the National Faculty members; at these gatherings, the depth of their collective passion is on true display. For two days, the NF and BIE staff engage in intense brain-stretching sessions to reflect, problem-solve, and learn from each other—and have team-building fun too. Take a look at this post following last October’s summit to get a deeper understanding of the energy created when everybody brings the highest quality of self-driven, deep care for education around a common pedagogy.

See our “Meet the BIE National Faculty” posts—and stay tuned for more in the future—and read their profiles to learn more about this group of PBL experts!


For more information about BIE’s professional development services.


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