As waves of the Global Educational Reform Movement, what Sahlberg (2015) identifies as GERM, still ripple around the world pushing for competition, standardization, the focus on the core subjects, and test-based accountability some schools like IDEAS choose what Hargreaves and Shirley (2012) call The Forth Way towards inspiration and innovation with their project-based learning pedagogy. IDEAS is a small public high school in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and a member of Ted Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools (CES). Our qualitative inquiry explores the implications of project-based learning on IDEAS’ students, teachers, academic program and school community. Data came from direct observation, interviews, curriculum documents, and teaching and learning artifacts. Our research informs IDEAS about the impact of their project-based learning pedagogy and validates its significance as part of their curricular program. It demonstrates that democratic principles are at work in some US schools, despite so many instances to the contrary. In the age of GERM this single-case study provides research-based evidence that alternative pedagogical methods and curriculum programs are potentially viable alternatives to many of the curriculum practices commonly found in today’s schools.
Coalition of Essential Schools, Project-Based Learning, Qualitative Research, Pedagogical Reform
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.
Recommended APA Citation
LaPrad, J. G., & Hyde, A. M. (2017). IDEAS: A Qualitative Inquiry into Project-Based Learning. The Qualitative Report, 22(2), 479-498. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2017.2463