Core Practices for Project-Based Learning

Core Practices for Project-Based Learning A Guide for Teachers and Leaders

Pam Grossman, Zachary Herrmann, Sarah Schneider Kavanagh, and Christopher G. Pupik Dean
paper, 192 Pages
Pub. Date: June 2021
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-642-1
Price: $32.00

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Core Practices for Project-Based Learning offers a framework and essential set of strategies for successfully implementing project-based learning (PBL) in the classroom. Centering on teaching practice, this work moves beyond project planning to focus on the complex instructional demands of the student-centered PBL approach.


Grounded in richly textured portraits of real classrooms, Core Practices for Project-Based Learning pulls back the curtain on the frameworks and strategies that undergird rigorous and equitable PBL. Teachers and school leaders will welcome the arrival of this new book for its winning combination of conceptual clarity and pedagogical utility. — Sarah Fine, director, San Diego Teacher Residency at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education

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About the Authors

Pam Grossman is the dean and George and Diane Weiss Professor at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania and the Nomellini-Olivier Professor Emerita at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. She has published broadly in the areas of teacher education and professional education more broadly, teacher knowledge, and the teaching of English in secondary schools. Her most recent work focuses on practice-based teacher education. A former high school English teacher, Dr. Grossman is a long-time teacher educator. She holds a BA in English from Yale University, a master’s in education from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD from Stanford. While at Stanford, she was the founding director of the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching and the founder of the Hollyhock Fellowship for early career teachers in underserved schools.

Zachary Herrmann serves as the executive director of the Center for Professional Learning at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE). Dr. Herrmann also serves on the professional faculty within the Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Division at Penn GSE, and as the academic director for the Project-Based Learning Certificate Program. Dr. Herrmann taught high school mathematics for several years, during which time he developed a collaborative professional development network of schools dedicated to improving teaching and learning with a focus on complex tasks, collaborative learning, and equity. He holds a BS in mathematics and a master’s in educational administration and leadership from the University of Illinois, an MA in education from Stanford University, and a Doctor of Education Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Sarah Schneider Kavanagh is an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on teacher education and professional development. In particular, she is interested in how teachers can be supported to instantiate their principles relating to justice and equity into their daily classroom practice. Dr. Kavanagh comes from a background as an English and history teacher in middle and high schools and holds a BA in American Studies from Wesleyan University and a PhD from the University of Washington. While at the University of Washington, she was the founding director of Teacher Education by Design and, since arriving at Penn GSE, she has worked closely with this team of authors to design, build, and study the Project- Based Learning Certificate Program.


Christopher G. Pupik Dean is a senior fellow and the codirector of the Independent School Teaching Residency Program at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Pupik Dean’s research interests focus on teacher education, citizenship education, and ethics. In addition to his work on teacher education for project-based learning, his current work focuses on the role of the humanities in human development. Dr. Pupik Dean earned his bachelor’s degree in Education, Theory, and Policy from the Pennsylvania State University’s Schreyer Honors College and his master’s degree and PhD in Education, Culture, and Society from the University of Pennsylvania. Before enrolling at Penn GSE, Dr. Pupik Dean taught grades nine through twelve environmental science in Henderson and Durham, North Carolina.