The purpose of this study is to examine the teachers’ practice of “meaningful learning” has become an inseparable part of the educational discourse. As a result, many schools have adopted the project-based learning (PBL) approach, which represents different teaching methods. The PBL approach also changes the position of the teacher as a source of knowledge as well as teacher–student relationship. The integration of PBL into and its implementation in the teaching of the robotics profession in junior high schools have created a new reality in which teachers who use project-based learning for teaching robotics come from diverse professional backgrounds, and in many cases, they are selected by the principal of the school. In light of this reality, it is interesting to examine the experience of teachers who manage a project in a field of knowledge that is not their expertise. This study examined teachers’ perceptions of their experience in teaching using the PBL approach. The subject of robotics was chosen as the field of research, as it represents a much broader issue concerning the implications of teaching using PBL on the professional, personal and ecological aspects. The study data were collected using structured questionnaires, which also included open-ended questions. These questionnaires were answered by 173 teachers, some of whom are educators (class tutors) and some professional teachers from three fields of knowledge: human studies, sciences and engineering. Each questionnaire included attitudes relating to the PBL teaching experience and the contribution of the PBL approach to both teachers and students. The findings show a high level of general satisfaction among the teachers and a sense of self-efficacy in teaching PBL. The findings also indicate personal, professional and ecological (teacher–environment relationship) contributions that were perceived as significant. The findings additionally indicate that class tutors perceived ecological contribution more than professional teachers, and professional teachers in the fields of human studies and sciences perceived it to be more significant than engineering teachers.
This study was based on quantitative research principles from the assumption that it can also be applied to different populations. The premise of this study is that the best way to understand phenomena is by using a large sample and numerical measurement (N = 176), which is required to avoid a result that may reflect only a partial view of the matter at hand when focusing on only a few limited cases.
A limitation of the present study is expressed in the fact that it is based on the perspective of one of the participants in the learning–teaching process – the teachers – who guided the project. The students’ perspective has not been studied. It is required to continue the study and examine the perceptions of the students who participate in PBL classes in which the teachers are not experts in the field of knowledge.
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