Phenomenon-based Learning

In Stepaside ETSS, we employ progressive, contemporary pedagogies to help inculcate a learning culture that facilitates the development of key 21st Century transversal skills such as teamwork & cooperation, creativity, critical thinking, ICT proficiency & digital literacy, communication. Our phenomenon-based learning weeks are key to fostering the culture of learning in SETSS and the development of the skills that help our learners become resilient leaders and active citizens.

What is phenomenon-based learning?

Phenomenon-based learning (PBL) is a student-centred, multidisciplinary, cross-curricular pedagogical approach to learning that places student inquiry and problem-solving at the core. Students look at real-world issues or 'phenomena' like climate change, gender equality, Covid-19, etc. Learners ask questions about these phenomena, engage in research to think critically about the issue and to come up with creative solutions for the problem. They then present and deliver their solution in their chosen format.

How does it work in Stepaside ETSS?

Once a term, our students will undertake a phenomenon-based learning week where all their lessons will be facilitated through the lens of a single theme, issue, topic or phenomena. These phenomena could be socio-economical, political, environmental, educational, social, etc. Some of our PBL weeks so far have tasked our students with creating an invention that will help save the planet, design the college of tomorrow, help solve gender equality. Over the course of the week, students will work in teams, research and analyse the phenomena, identify a specific problem they would like to address and complete a project they believe posits a solution. All lessons will be taught with the overarching theme of the week as its focus and are designed to help students work towards completing their PBL project.

Why use phenomenon-based learning in the classroom?

We use phenomenon-based learning because it ensures deeper learning and understanding as students make connections across all subjects and identify the relevance of what they are learning to real life. PBL promotes teamwork and cooperation and facilitates the development of other key 21st Century skills. It is also learner-centred, promotes independent learning and fosters greater engagement.

Below, you can see just one example of some of the great work our students have produced from their PBL weeks, presenting their project in the Science Gallery in Trinity.

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05-May-2020
Creative Schools RTE Documentary
20-Mar-2020
With the school doors currently shut due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Stepaside Educate Together has been using technology to communicate with students and keep lessons going.
02-Mar-2020
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Belarmine Vale, Belarmine, Stepaside, Co. Dublin.
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