Addressing complex, real-world problems in class is an authentic and relevant context for ESOL and ABE instruction. It creates opportunities for learners to develop the language that demonstrates their critical thinking. Come explore ways to use problem-based learning with learners at any proficiency level. You will leave with an array of strategies to promote language development and essential skills. 

Please note: This course will take place in Blackboard where you will find all virtual session information, course materials, and additional resources. You cannot access the online course from the SABES website. You will receive a separate email one or two days before the course begins with instructions on how to access the Zoom session. If you do not receive these instructions, please check your Spam folder and/or send an email to nruskin@edc.org


    This professional development activity/course is designed for:

  • Instructors of all levels of adult ESOL
  • Adult education teachers
  • Instructional leaders

This session will address the principles of problem-based learning (PBL) and provide opportunities to engage with this learner-centered approach step by step by collaborating with colleagues. You will identify the language strategies that learners need to support these steps: explaining an authentic problem scenario; researching, thinking through, and proposing solutions; identifying consequences; and applying a solution. The facilitator will share problem scenarios for different levels of language proficiency and demonstrate scaffolds and instructional strategies that help learners demonstrate their critical thinking when presenting solutions to a problem. Resources include materials from the national Teaching the Skills That Matter Toolkit

Follow-up coaching is available through SABES to support you in integrating new tools and strategies into your teaching practice. To arrange a coach, please contact the PD Center Director for ESOL, Dori McCormack, at dmccormack@edc.org; for ELA, contact Evonne Peters at evonne_peters@worlded.org.

    Learning Objectives

    Upon completion of this professional development activity/course, you will be able to:

  • Provide your students with the rationale for participating in problem-based learning (PBL)
  • Use the steps of the problem-solving technique to help learners work through a problem scenario
  • Locate and/or generate meaningful problem scenarios
  • Implement at least one scaffold and one instructional strategy to help students successfully engage with the PBL approach
Presenter(s) / Facilitator(s)

Attendees should have a basic knowledge of Zoom features and breakout rooms.

05/18/2023 - 11:00 am to 05/18/2023 - 12:30 pm

United States

PD Center
C&I PD Centers Collaboration
Topic Area
CCRSAE (College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education)
Curriculum Development
ESOL/English Learners
MA ELPS (Massachusetts English Language Proficiency Standards)