Open Access
Perez, Carlos Esteban
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
February 12, 2016
Committee Members:
  • Bernard Joel Badiali, Dissertation Advisor
  • Bernard Joel Badiali, Committee Chair
  • James F Nolan Jr., Committee Member
  • Anne Whitney, Committee Member
  • Jacqueline A Stefkovich, Committee Member
  • Problem Based Learning
  • Teacher perception of school change
  • Teachers common vision for school change
  • School change
This study uses a case study methodology to understand how Problem Based Learning (PBL) influences teachers’ perceptions of school change. A PBL is a simulation. As such, the participants engaged with the PBL Arboretum in a safe environment that enabled them to challenge school culture and propose different solutions to all the issues presented in the PBL. This case study also aims to understand how a PBL can help teachers to establish a common vision for school change. The PBL Arboretum was designed for this study and was tested in a pilot study before it was implemented. This PBL involved teachers in a simulation that encouraged them to take risks without fearing negative effects from their ideas. This was achieved thanks to a well-designed and administered PBL. As the PBL Arboretum resembled the school where this study took place, it allowed participants to express their ideas, including different perspectives that challenged Arboretum and their school’s current culture, in a safe environment. The study was conducted in the Groove (pseudonym) private school in Bogota, Colombia. Five different groups solved the PBL in a three-day seminar. In that period of time, the participants were observed, two anonymous surveys were implemented, and a final presentation was given by each team. In the next two weeks, five interviews were completed, and each team submitted their final product. The findings describe how teachers were able to work collaboratively through the PBL Arboretum. The participants were empowered to think about school change by solving a simulation, and the PBL provided a safe environment with rules and roles constructed by each team that led the teachers to have an effective collaboration, build knowledge, and share with each other as they built a common vision for school change.