“What’s the Big Idea?” A Case Study of Whole-School Project-Based Instruction in Secondary Education


  • Patrick Howard Cape Breton University
  • Chris Ryan Riverview High School
  • Ian Fogarty


secondary education, creativity, project-based learning, 21st century education, student experience


This paper presents the results of an inquiry into a creative, whole-school integrative learning project that started with posing a ‘big question’. Data were generated to deepen understanding regarding the effects of implementing creative project-based learning Hi on student lived experience and student attitudes toward learning. Research on project-based approaches is required to reflect the current contextual realities specific to high schools. The focus on integrative and arts-based approaches as they relate to high school classrooms indicate that secondary education lags in comparison to elementary and middle grades. The findings presented here provide the possibility of a more informed, attentive, action-sensitive professional practice in the development of educational experiences designed to influence the learning experiences of secondary students.

Author Biographies

Patrick Howard, Cape Breton University

Associate Professor, Education Department

Chris Ryan, Riverview High School


Ian Fogarty



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How to Cite

Howard, P., Ryan, C., & Fogarty, I. (2021). “What’s the Big Idea?” A Case Study of Whole-School Project-Based Instruction in Secondary Education. McGill Journal of Education / Revue Des Sciences De l’éducation De McGill, 55(3). Retrieved from https://mje.mcgill.ca/article/view/9798



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