Towards project-based science learning : a Finnish class teacher’s conceptions and implementation
Previous implementation research on Project-based science learning (PBSL) has mostly focussed on teachers that were provided with training or in-practice support for the implementation of PBSL. Although teacher-initiated PBSL is the most common way students are introduced to projects, little is known about the quantity and quality of project implementation in the context of teacher-initiated PBSL. This in-depth case study of one Finnish elementary class teacher’s conceptions and implementation of PBSL seeks to understand how the teacher’s conceptions of PBSL relates to the implementation and how the teacher’s conceptions develop as a result of practical experience of implementing projects. This case study followed Yin’s (1994) recommendation for a case study design. Two interviews were conducted before and after the project implementation, they were analysed using Miles and Huberman’s (1994) interactive model for data analysis. The eight-week project observations were analysed using the critical incident analysis technique. The findings are based on a comparison of the interview and observation data. The findings show that the Finnish National board for Education’s (2016) recommendations for Environmental science and the teacher’s own experience formed the basis for the teacher’s conceptions of PBSL. The teacher encountered many dilemmas during the implementation and was seen to develop a new understanding of some aspects of PBSL. The research concludes by pointing directions for further research and by making some practical recommendations to improve PBSL implementation in the elementary school context in Finland. ...
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