Teacher Spotlight

GOs Help Prepare Students for a 21st Century World

Mrs. Shaina Maytum and Mr. Mark Speckien's Project Based Learning Classes Practice Effective Communication

While the content, curriculum, and passing the class with a successful grade are important, the ability to learn how to communicate effectively while working on a project is a skill that will help students be more prepared for life outside of high school. Youth About Business founder, Sam Kirk, said, “I spent 12 years of my life recruiting and preparing college students for the transition from college to the workforce. The number one weakness Corporate America said they faced with incoming talent was the “inability to effectively communicate” on a professional level.”


Working on projects with others (Collaboration!) is a huge part of how many of us operate in the world, and students in Mark and Shaina’s Project Based Learning (PBL) classes are no different. Not only are the class and projects set up to integrate Math, English, and Science, they also focus on 21st Century Skills, as well as our very own district’s Global Outcomes (GOs). One of the Global Outcomes that was identified early on as an essential skill was communication.


When students run into challenges around group work, Shaina and Mark want to empower them with tools they can use to address difficult conversations. As teachers, they want students to have a supportive and intentional way to communicate with one another when challenges arise. As a result, students and teachers have been practicing using the Group Conflict Resolution Protocol. Ultimately, it’s about addressing the issue and not the person and allows the group to brainstorm and find appropriate and helpful solutions. This same protocol can also be used to celebrate successes as well as focus on improving the projects themselves.


Using this protocol effectively takes time, and is every bit as important as the curriculum itself. Teachers and students use role-playing and feedback cycles to practice the protocol and to be more prepared for when they need to use it in a real situation.

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