10 SES 11 A, Research in Teacher Education: Cultures and Methodologies
Paper/Ignite Talk Session
Project-based learning is a teaching methodology focused on the students. It is based on the students interest and their natural curiosity (Bell, 2010), which are the key to plan a research. This methodology involve the students on the design, the making-decisions, problems resolution or research activities in an autonomy way (Toledo Morales & Sánchez García, 2018). The phases (Guissasola & Garmendia, 2018) of this kind of approach are: 1) Students should choose a key question which motivate them to learn and to research. It is very important that this question is linked to a real context or a real problem. In this moment, there are two important issues: What knowledges have the students about this question? and, what do they need to know?. In this way, the project is the guide for learning. 2) Students make decisions about what they want to do to achieve the goal. 3) At the end, students plan de activity and the process to achieve the results. Accordingly, Project-Based Learning (PBL) is a pedagogical approach based on a contextualizes learning and challenges to solve problems or to create a product.
The teacher should focus on strengthen the interaction among peers and the autonomy of the learners (Greyling & Rajendran, 2018). The teacher’s role become on a guide for learning (Lokey-Vega, Williamson, & Bondeson, 2018). In this way, a task or activity with a project-based learning approach provides students hand-on experience, creativity and critical thinking (Hanif, Chandra Wijaya, & Winarno, 2019), responsibility, independence and discipline (Bell, 2010; Toledo Morales, & Sánchez García, 2018). Normally, students organize themselves on groups to solve the questions. For this reason, students active their social interactions, communication skills, negotiation, and collaboration (Bell, 2010; Poonpon, 2017).
In this framework, within a teaching innovation project Higher Education, we aim to include the project-based learning as a teaching strategy in de last course of Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Zaragoza. Students must develop their skills and knowledge through a global project which involves three subjects at the same time: “Early Care”, “Innovation in Inclusive Education” and “Educational Responses to children with special needs”. The topic of the project should be a students interest or curiosity about the education to a child with intellectual disability, from a inclusive perspective. In this way, the students need to find the relationship between the competences and knowledges of the three subjects. The Project-Based Learning approach provide the opportunity to the students to research about discapacity topics, which are of interest to them. Furthermore, these pedagogical practices facilitate the connection between diferentes subjects, to enhance more significative, global and integrated learnings.
Therefore, the objectives of this paper is a) To develop in students a global and interdisciplinary perspective to offer an inclusive educational activity to children with intellectual disability and b) To improve the students competence and the knowledge to become on inclusive and committed teachers to Early Childhood Education.
The experience has taken place in the Education Faculty at the Zaragoza University. The Based-Project Learning involves three subjects of the Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education, specializing in attention to diversity. The study sample includes 5 teachers, all of them women, and 90 students, 96,5% of them were women and 3,5% men. The project aim to design an innovative activity, from an inclusive perspective, for a child with an intellectual disability. Students also have to offer early care guidelines. In this way, students should integrate the knowledge from the three academic subjects. This paper use qualitative and quantitative research methods to explorer the competence that the students have developed and what knowledges students have acquired. To know the students perceptions we use an ad hoc questionnaire and group interviews (Barbour & Kitzinger, 1999). Firstly, the participants completed an on-line ad hoc questionnaire before and after the project, that contain both open- and closed-response questions. The questionnaire focus on the improvement of competences development in students, teaching methodologies and students satisfaction. Secondly, the group interviews provided an opportunity for the participants in PBL methodology to explain their competences development, experiences, knowledges and any information important for them (Barbour & Schostak, 2005). We have collected the information through 8 students group interviews, with 4 or 5 students per group interview. We collected the datas at the end of the course, after the students had presented the performances to all the class. We have analyzed and categorized the datas from de participants’ responses to questionnaire open questions and in the group interviews through Grounded Theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). We have used Nvivo program (license NVT12-LZ000-6BA20-YU602-4L4KZ) to support us in the categorization of data. After the first analyze, we have contrasted the information with the students and with the teachers. In this way, we do a reconstruction of the meanings, and we build a theory between the whole participants.
The findings show the students perceptions. They consider that they develop several professional and personal competences: knowledge integration, research, group work, dialogic learning, applying the theory to the educational reality, and finally, planning skills. According to the perceptions, the ABP practice has favoured an interdisciplinary perspective, the knowledge integration from three areas: “We have developed abilities to connect thread of three subjects in the same work, to relate them” (GE7.St.F). During the process, students need to search for information and distinguish the correct information from incorrect one: “You realize that you are capable of research, synthesizing, summarizing and then exposing it” (GE7.St.E). To carry out research, students have to work in small groups. They have positively assessed these opportunities: “We have developed our team-work skills, trying to solve the conflicts between us” (GE5.St.B). Related to collaboration into groups and an interdisciplinary perspective, students have developed dialogic learning during the establishment of arguments about potential options to solve questions or issues: “Once we have given our opinion, and through a consensus, we have reached an agreement” (GE3.St.A). In the same way, planning skills are necessary to make decisions during the process: “We should have decided the subject of work before and more clearly, to start from the beginning” (GE1.St.B). At the end, students perceive that ABP methodology links theory and practice. Thus, the students express that they can use the knowledges for their professional future: “We can see that, the project can be carried out in the classroom” (GE4.St.C). The findings emphasize how the ABP methodology encourage connection between different disciplines, in a global way, to design activities, contextualized in real life, and in the same time, it foster professional and personal skills in students.
Barbour, R. S. & Kitzinger, J. (Ed.) (1998). Developing Focus Group Research: Politics, Theory and Practice. Sage: London. Barbour, R. S. & Schostak, J. (2005). Interviewing and focus groups. In Somekh, B & Lewin, C. Research methods in the Social Sciences. Chapt. 4, pp. 41-48. Sage: London. Bell, S. (2010). Project-based learning for the 21st century: Skills for the future. The Clearing House, 83(2), 39-43. Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 24(25), 288-304. Greyling, W., & Rajendran, D. (2018). Reflecting on a tertiary educator’s implementation of a project-based flipped classroom: A repertory grid analysis. Hamilton: New Zealand Guissasola, J. & Garmendia, M. (2018). Aprendizaje basado en problemas, proyectos y casos: diseño e implementación de experiencias en la universidad. Servicio Editorial de la Universidad del País Vasco. Hanif, S., Chandra Wijaya, A. F., & Winarno, N. (2019). Enhancing Students´Creativity through STEM Project-Based Learning. Journal of Science Educators, 50-57. Lokey-Vega, A., Williamson, J., & Bondeson, K. (2018). A lesson structure and an instructional design model for Project-Based Online Learning. Journal of Online Learning Research, 4(3), 327-345. Poonpon, K. (2017). Enhancing English skills through project-based learning. The English Teacher, vol. 40, 1-10. Toledo Morales, P., & Sánchez García, J. M. (2018). Aprendizaje basado en proyectos: Una experiencia universitaria. Profesorado, Revista de Currículum y Formación del Profesorado, 22(2), 471-491.
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