Year of Publication

2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Educational Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Tricia Browne-Ferrigno

Second Advisor

Dr. Jayson W. Richardson

Abstract

Project-based learning is a method of instruction utilizing techniques of brainstorming, research, and problem-solving. When learning in project-based environments, students work collaboratively and receive feedback from an authentic audience of knowledgeable and experienced professionals. Although these instructional methods are beneficial for student learning, they conflict with traditional instructional practices. Although teachers in a rural Missouri school district received professional development for incorporating project-based learning, they expressed feelings of confusion, uncertainty, and decreased competency when relinquishing traditional instructional methods. These feelings are indicative of low levels of self-efficacy that can negatively influence the degree to which new instructional methods are implemented in classrooms. Thus, an instructional coaching intervention to address teachers’ efficacy for implementing project-based learning was developed.

This dissertation reports outcomes of a mixed-methods action research study that explores the influence instructional coaching had for teachers’ self-efficacy to implement project-based learning. Quantitative and qualitative data gathered during the initial phases of the action research resulted in the design of a unique peer instructional coaching model to support teachers during their first year of project-based learning implementation. A sample of teachers participated in peer coaching professional development, and quantitative and qualitative data were collected over a period of six months to determine the effectiveness of the intervention. Analyses of data indicated instructional coaching positively influenced teachers’ self-efficacy to implement project-based learning in high school classrooms. Further, elementary teachers demonstrated gains in their ability to implement elements of project-based learning when instructional coaching was used. Thus, results identified a need to continue the development of teacher efficacy and expand the peer instructional coaching model. Additional implications of teachers’ participation in peer instructional coaching resulted in strengthened relationships, reduced feelings of isolation, and the development of teacher leaders.

Findings from this study were used to address the instructional practices of teachers in a rural Missouri school district and may be useful for schools when implementing new initiatives, curriculum, or instructional practices. Additionally, this study provides useful methods for schools aiming to incorporate practices of instructional coaching and roles of teacher leaders in professional learning.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2020.083

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