From Project to Teacher to Student: A Qualitative Case Study Exploring the Complexities of Student Writing at a Project-Based Learning High School

by Jamie Mae Collins

Institution: University of New Mexico
Year: 2017
Keywords: adolescent literacy; student writing; project-based learning; writing instruction; project writing; literacy practices; Language and Literacy Education
Posted: 02/01/2018
Record ID: 2154762
Full text PDF: http://digitalrepository.unm.edu/educ_llss_etds/72


In this qualitative case, I explore the complexities of adolescent student writing within one project over the course of one trimester at a project-based learning (PBL) high school. With this study, I seek to both understand how students write within project work and open-up a conversation between the fields of adolescent literacy development and PBL. From my extensive collection of datafield notes; student writing samples; photographs; teacher artifacts; and audio records of teacher interviews, planning sessions, and implementation of writing activitiesI sought to answer my overarching research question: What happens with student writing during one project in a PBL high school? With five research sub-questions, I present multiple perspectives on student writing. For analysis, I coded the various functions of student writing, conducted axial coding of project teacher interviews and instruction (Corbin and Strauss, 2007), presented a chronological account of teacher planning and instruction, and analyzed student writing from a literacy practices approach. From these findings, I explained my understandings of student writing as a contested space, how project teachers used writing to combat student resistance, and how student writing can be understood as students building relationships with the projects through writing. I concluded this study by proposing ways project teachers might implement a literacy practices approach to writing within PBL settings, suggesting project teachers support students as they maneuver between the material world of the project and the immaterial world of thinking as it is expressed through writing. Advisors/Committee Members: Dr. Donald Zancanella, Dr. Sheridan Blau, Dr. Lucretia (Penny) Pence, Dr. Vanessa Svihla.