PROJECT-BASED LEARNING IN ELEMENTARY IN WESTERN UNITED STATES SCHOOLS
Keywords:Problem-based learning, student-centered, elementary school education, teacher education, problem-based learning implementation
Project-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered approach that has been required by state and school-level leadership, but the teachers have not received formal training before implementing it in their classes. This study explored the perception of current PBL implementation among teachers and administrators at an urban elementary school, focusing specifically on fidelity and adaptations. The research questions guiding this study asked what administrators perceive as the intent of PBL instruction and what teachers perceive as the nature of implementation in their classrooms. This qualitative exploratory case study included an analysis of data from interviews, observations, and the relevant documents of five teachers and two administrators. Teachers were observed in class and interviewed about the PBL implementation evident during the observations. Internal documents in the analysis where the documentation related to the planning and implementation of PBL was reviewed. The strategy used to analyze the data focused on answering smaller subquestions in order to answer the larger research questions about the nature of PBL in this setting. Themes were recorded as any recurring patterns emerged from the data. Evidence was displayed through a narrative of the analysis as a means of allowing readers to review for reliability. The final results from this study may contribute to social change by helping leaders improve teacher training and the practice of PBL implementation.
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