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AQCP Problem-Based Learning

PBL Guidelines:
The following are suggestions to teachers for successful facilitation of student learning using the PBL process. The list is far from complete - you'll discover more as you become skilled at utilizing this format. REMEMBER - Be a PAL!

PAL: Patience Assistance Learning

  • Don't rush the students; allow them time to reflect and discover.
  • Don't give them too much information to start; this implies that there is only 1 "right" answer.
  • Don't push the students by being too authoritative.
  • Don't intervene too soon or too often; you'll make them all the more dependent on you.
  • Allow the students to make mistakes; powerful learning can occur from this.


  • Keep notes for yourself on your observations of the groups' work.
  • Help students discover ways to correct mistakes.
  • Provide encouragement.
  • Encourage creativity and divergent thinking.
  • Do use open-ended questions, such as:
    • Is that a learning issue?
    • What does that have to do with the problem?
    • How do you know that?
    • Where are you stuck?
    • Does everyone agree with that statement?
    • Can someone summarize for me where you are right now?
    • What can you agree on to do next?


  • Join in as a part of the learning community with your students.
  • Show your excitement and joy in discovery along with the students.
  • Don't worry - your students ARE learning content and developing into effective thinkers and collaborators.



Northern Arizona University Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals

EEOP Staff
Environmental Education Outreach Program (EEOP)
Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP)
PO Box 5768
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-5768
Phone: (928) 523-1275
Fax: (928) 523-1280
E-mail: eeop@nau.edu

Last updated: May 26, 2005