Sheila Barbach

What is your institution? Golda Och Academy

What do you teach? Science - 7th and 8th grade

How long have you used POGIL? Since 2012

What was your "AHA" POGIL moment? Well going to my first workshop on POGIL and having Rick and Laura be the facilitators. That was super cool! Also, when I used POGIL to change the culture of an 8th grade class that was rowdy, silly, and otherwise super 8th gradeish. I knew that working with their preference for talking to each other, rather than listening to me. That experience showed me that POGIL could work in a middle school setting and that even very social middle schoolers who still had alot of growing and maturing to do could implement the POGIL way of learning.

What do you wish you had known when you first started using POGIL? That there are many ways to adapt the POGIL pedagogy into my teaching practice. At first I thought to "do" POGIL I had to use it in every class, implement an entire activity, have groups of 4 students, and have it as my primary teaching method. Over time, I see that I can be more flexible. For some topics, PO part of the lesson is the most important, and we focus on the process while reviewing a familiar concept. Sometimes POGIL introduces a topic that students are not familiar with at all and we break up the activity with mini-lessons. My point is that I wish I was less concerned about doing POGIL in the way I thought I was right in the beginning, and let myself be more flexible.

What would you like to see The POGIL Project accomplish in the next 20 years? Adapt the pedagogy for neurodiverse students who don't have typical communication styles. Offer coaching and/or mentoring for new practitioners, so that teachers can have support beyond the workshop from a formal program.

What does the POGIL community mean to you? POGIL provides students a way of learning that allows them to trust their ability to construct their knowledge and assures them that their teacher trusts them as well.