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Hal Portner: Let’s try again on downtown Northampton puzzle, but with ‘Problem-Based Learning’

To the editor:

The Main Street bench-or-not-to-bench question was, of course, a symptom of one or more larger problems. Unfortunately, there can be several great solutions to the wrong problem. But one thing the situation does provide is the chance to identify and solve a downtown problem while kicking student learning and motivation up a notch.

Council members and educators: Seize this opportunity to work out a cooperative venture to apply Problem-Based Learning, a powerful educational process, to the situation.

Using council members, business owners, citizens and, of course, teachers as resources, along with critical and creative thinking strategies, students research the issue, identify problems, creatively generate and prioritize solutions and defend and present their solutions to the public.

The council considers their recommendations. What a win-win opportunity!

Hal Portner


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