Published by McGill

Chris Ryan and I with lots of help from Patrick Howard from UCCB, were published today in the McGill Journal of Education! Thank you to Patrick for his persistence!!

“What’s the Big Idea?” A Case Study of Whole-School Project -Based instruction in Secondary Education (Howard, P., Ryan, C., Fogarty, I. McGill Journal of Education Vol 55, N3,
Fall 2020, pg 619-640 ISBN 1916-0666)

The article recounts the progress started in the transdisciplinary Science 12 class with projects like the Xenotransplant Project that happened in one classroom, to our first attempt at a whole school project with the Saxby Gale, and finally with a more formal, structured project of “What Does It Mean to be Human?” Patrick and his team interviewed Chris and I, other teachers and students as well as video recorded debriefs to provide an academic lens and language to what we are trying to do.

This is the concluding paragraphs.

The research here demonstrates the experiential pedagogies such as whole school, project-based learning resulted in meaningful experiences for high school students. The descriptions of those experiences, and the outcome of employing a qualitative, phenomenological lens, revealed important structures of the students’ life worlds as they were immersed in a specific pedagogically approach. The Shift away from traditional, didactic, teacher-centered approaches revealed fundamental thematic structures that emerged for students. It is important to inquire into student-lived experience to provide for a fuller understanding and the lived meaning of pedagogical interventions. findings, such as those presented here, provide the possibility of a more informed, attentive, action-sensitive professional knowledge and practice in the development of educational experiences designed to influence the learning experiences of secondary students.