In a PBL classroom, students do things. But what about the teacher? What do we need to be doing while the students are doing things? What does it look like when the teacher is a coach? Are we still doing things, and if so, what are they? In Making Space for Thinking, we made the case that good facilitation is largely an internal process of observation, data collection, and questioning that, while it requires the full attention of the teacher, looks a lot like “standing around drinking my coffee, watching the kids.” We may worry, “What if my principal walks in and sees me not doing things?” So we get into the middle of student processes, correcting and nudging and answering questions before we need to, because that’s what we think teaching is — doing things.
If students are in my classroom working, I’m right there with them. Assisting, questioning, guiding. I don’t think you should worry about what others are thinking when you’re doing project based learning.
Plus, I don’t drink coffee.