A Qualitative Study on the Pedagogical Changes Teachers Experience When They Embrace Project Based Learning and Develop a Transformational Learning Pedagogy

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Crews, Tamera Dawn
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Middle Tennessee State University
ABSTRACT Change is difficult, but sometimes for those in the teaching profession who have been tasked with changing their teaching style it is more difficult. This case study reflects the process that seven elementary school teachers experience when their district declares a change in pedagogical practice to Project Based Learning (PBL) practices. The teachers emerge from various backgrounds and collaborate as they journey through the change. The researcher’s goal was to determine the driving factor that would encourage a teacher to make the requested change. Not only are the pedagogical practices changed, but the transformation of learning of the teachers themselves. The researcher studied each teacher to determine how the change is affecting their classroom practices and their students. The results deem to be more of a progression than a list of characteristics. Each teacher proved to be on a timeline of the process depending on the experience each one had with the changes. All teams shared characteristics such as a close team relationship and an enthusiasm for PBL. They all agree that time is a factor that makes a difference in the quality of teaching and they all had a passion for student learning. What sets them apart is their background knowledge they bring to the group and their experiences since the process started. The information and knowledge the researcher gained during this study will be the basis for future professional development that will guide other teachers more smoothly through the process of pedagogical change.