Modifications of Project-Based Learning to Fit Students with Adverse Childhood Experiences

Michael Shriner, Manda Foster


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the perception of modifications necessary as educators moved away from a traditional learning environment with little movement and high academic stress through the introduction of project-based learning activities specifically for this population of students. Data were collected from 1-1 interviews with five participants teaching within a mental health residential school in Missouri who hold Missouri teacher certification ranging from elementary to high school level working with 175 students, ranging in ages from 8 to 17. Additional data were collected from lesson reflections and lesson plans from classrooms of students with the same background as teacher participants over the last four school years, 2018-22, of teachers who have taught project-based learning units. Interviews, lesson reflections, and lesson plans were manually coded twice and then coded a third time using electronic coding via NVivo to ensure bias from myself was not present. This study supports using project-based learning activities with students across grade levels from elementary to high school who have encountered adverse childhood experiences. Findings from this study support perceived modifications to generate curriculum options that are non-traditional as well as relevant to students within a residential care facility school.

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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