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Elementary teacher’s conceptions of inquiry teaching : messages for teacher development

Ireland, Joseph E., Watters, James J., Brownlee, Joanne M., & Lupton, Mandy (2012) Elementary teacher’s conceptions of inquiry teaching : messages for teacher development. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 23(2), pp. 159-175.

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Abstract

The advocacy for inquiry-based learning in contemporary curricula assumes the principle that students learn in their own way by drawing on direct experience fostered by the teacher. That students should be able to discover answers themselves through active engagement with new experiences was central to the thinking of eminent educators such as Pestalozzi, Dewey and Montessori. However, even after many years of research and practice, inquiry learning as a referent for teaching still struggles to find expression in the average teachers' pedagogy. This study drew on interview data from 20 elementary teachers. A phenomenographic analysis revealed three conceptions of teaching for inquiry learning in science in the elementary years of schooling: (a) The Experience- centred conception where teachers focused on providing interesting sensory experiences to students; (b) The Problem-centred conception where teachers focused on challenging students with engaging problems; and (c) The Question-centred conception where teachers focused on helping students to ask and answer their own questions. Understanding teachers' conceptions has implications for both the enactment of inquiry teaching in the classroom as well as the uptake of new teaching behaviours during professional development, with enhanced outcomes for engaging students in Science.

Impact and interest:

4 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 45680
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: phenomenography, elementary science teaching, inquiry science, primary science teaching, teacher beliefs, teacher knowledge, science education
ISSN: 1046-560X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Science Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy (130212)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > Schools > School of Curriculum
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Past > Schools > School of Cultural & Language Studies in Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Springer
Copyright Statement: The original publication is available at SpringerLink http://www.springerlink.com
Deposited On: 05 Sep 2011 10:07
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2013 17:46

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