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Evaluation of the Impacts of the Teton Science Schools Place-Based Education Professional Development Workshops for Teachers in Bhutan, An

Koinis, Nicholas J.
The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small Himalayan country located between India and China whose education system is changing. Current education reform efforts include professional development workshops for teachers. Since 2008, the Teton Science Schools (TSS) has partnered with the Royal Education Council of Bhutan to conduct several workshops to teach place-based education (PBE) to Bhutanese teachers. TSS is an organization with multiple program areas focused on using place-based methods to educate people. Place is defined as the biophysical setting in which events take place. PBE is an educational philosophy related to environmental education, experiential education, and outdoor education which emphasizes the connection of students and curriculum content to the local natural and cultural environment. My primary research question is, "What impacts, if any, do the TSS place-based education professional development workshops have on Bhutanese teachers?" I used qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze data collected with surveys, interviews, observations, and examination of extant documents during two workshops in January, 2016. My analyses show that the workshops produced nine positive impacts on 15 Bhutanese primary school teachers. Four main challenges were also identified. Additionally, I found that TSS has influenced the quality of education in Bhutan by influencing course design at the Samtse College of Education and national curriculum development. The analyses informed final recommendations for the Teton Science Schools.
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