Capacity Building Programme for Teachers "Place-based Learning (PBL): Real-life Classroom in the 21st Century"


21st-century learning approaches are at the centre of the 2013-2035 Malaysian Education Blueprint - what are our teachers doing to better incorporate creative pedagogy into their practice? Arts-ED’s Capacity Building Programme for Teachers, split into Basic and Advanced levels, aims to develop interested local school teachers’ competency in applying the Place-based Learning (PBL) methodology as an effective way to engage young learners. 

9 teachers from 4 schools in Penang were introduced to the key principles, processes, and case studies of PBL in the first and second training sessions. The teachers recently completed the third and fourth sessions, working in three teams to design and conduct a test-run of their PBL projects using Chowrasta Market as their site.

Session 3: Designing a PBL Project, 4 July 2019


The teachers did a recce - a quick site survey - at Chowrasta Market first thing in the morning to get a sense of the place and to identify a topic of interest that could be turned into a PBL project.


After practising their interviewing skills through role-playing with Arts-ED’s trainers, the teachers were ready to collect more in-depth data for their selected topics on-site. 

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In their groups, the teachers processed and analysed the raw data gathered, and shared them and gave each other feedback through a ‘gallery walk’. They then used their findings to frame their projects and to craft a syllabus and lesson plan, in preparation for a micro-teaching session during the next meet-up. 

Session 4: Executing a PBL project, 12 July 2019

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The micro-teaching session allowed each group an hour to execute a part of their PBL project, with a few of their fellow teachers acting as participants whereas the rest served as observers.


After each group ran their lesson, the Fishbowl discussion strategy was used for teachers to reflect on their planning and execution of the mini lesson. Participants discussed their experience in the inner circle, while the facilitators and observers listened in from the outer circle. After that, everyone joined in to evaluate how effectively the learning objectives and outcomes were achieved, and the strengths and weaknesses in lesson planning and facilitation. 


Arts-ED’s trainers then chose one of the teachers’ PBL projects to re-plan and re-teach, modelling a more student-centred way to approach the lesson. Teachers were then invited to give feedback based on their observations.


Towards the end, the group revisited syllabus- and lesson plan-writing, particularly the crafting of learning objectives and outcomes, and were introduced to the why and how of assessment in PBL. Looking ahead, the teachers will be planning a pilot PBL project at a site of their choice for their own (real) students next! 

Trainer and facilitator team: 

Adeline Chua, Charis Loke, Chen Yoke Pin, Foo Wei Meng, Molly Lee 

Reported by: Ooi Win Wen, 19 July 2019