Challenge Based Learning in a High School Leadership Curriculum

Challenge Based Learning (CBL) is a relatively new framework for teaching that I think works really well in a high school leadership classroom.  This framework closely resembles real world workplaces as students work in  groups and use technology to solve complex problems or projects. Below is a visual of the CBL Framework that I used as a guide in setting up the practical leadership component of my courses.

Step 1: Big Ideas to Essential Questions: In this first step I ask my students to think of the major issues that affect our school. Some examples might be bullying or lack of school spirit.  Students have a deep understanding of their school and usually have no problem identifying the big ideas. Next you need to formulate the essential question for each idea. The essential question should be answerable through research. An example might be what causes bullying in a high school?

Step 2: Coming up with a challenge is the most important part of the CBL. This is a call to action that needs to be real and meaningful. An example might be to reduce bullying in our high school.

Step 3:  Working on the Challenge. This step involves three areas Guiding questions, research, and resources. Guiding questions should focus their research and ensure that they are gaining the knowledge required to develop an innovative and effective solution. Guiding activities are simulations, activities, surveys or interviews that will provide more information. Lastly, the resources might include technology or people available in the school.

Step 4: Solution Implementation. Students will implement their solution in the school. Often these take the form of assemblies, awareness weeks, fundraising campaigns, etc.

Step 5: Assessment and Reflection. I evaluate the students on the success of their event, how well they worked as a team, whether their solution contributed to their challenge and also lessons learned. They are required to reflect and debrief with the class on the process as well

The role of the teacher in CBL changes depending on what stage your students are at, However, I have found that I am mostly acting as a facilitator. In a recent post I discussed  qualities of effective facilitators, I feel these are really important in CBL leadership process.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s