Learning and Teaching

The more than 20 modules of the Ford PAS curriculum use a hands-on, collaborative, project- and inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning. Modules pose questions for students to explore; students acquire knowledge and skills as they work collaboratively to investigate those questions, carry out long-term projects, and create end products to demonstrate their learning. The Learning and Teaching Pillars detail the curriculum’s research-based principles. Teachers learn to integrate the pillars into their practice through use of the curriculum and on-going participation in Ford PAS professional development opportunities.

Learning Pillars

The Ford PAS Learning Pillars represent the essential academic and career-related knowledge and skills that students need to succeed in college and a wide range of careers. They include the essential skills identified by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, which brings together the business community, education leaders, and policymakers to define a powerful vision for 21st century education. These skills complement and strengthen the knowledge and skills defined in national academic standards. Young people who acquire these skills are equipped to be lifelong learners in a rapidly changing, diverse, information-rich, and technology-driven world. The Ford PAS curriculum explicitly teaches students these skills and enables students to apply them in a variety of contexts.

  • Application of academic knowledge and skills: Students both acquire essential academic knowledge and skills and develop flexibility in drawing on appropriate disciplinary knowledge and skills to address real-world challenges.
  • Problem-solving: Students work with open-ended problems and issues that require them to clarify and analyze situations, explore solutions, and evaluate results.
  • Critical thinking: Students analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information. They learn how to make reasoned judgments based on observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, and discussion.
  • Teamwork: Students work in teams to conduct investigations, synthesize data, and communicate results. They learn to give and receive feedback, negotiate agreements, facilitate meetings, and take on a variety of leadership roles. Students also work independently and are assessed for the individual contributions they make to team products.
  • Communication: Students learn strategies for evaluating complex oral, written, and multimedia communications, and create oral, written, and multimedia material for a wide variety of purposes and audiences.
  • Creativity and innovation: Students learn to think creatively in response to a wide variety of challenges. They invent, try out, and revise designs and solutions, and are encouraged to take risks, learn from failures as well as successes, and value diverse perspectives.
  • Global awareness: Students tackle issues that cross borders, and consider the perspectives of people and communities around the world. They explore potential solutions tailored to particular cultures, and learn to work and communicate effectively with others who have diverse views.