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Teachers' conceptions of how to engage students through inquiry learning : foundations for STEM

Ireland, Joseph E., Watters, James J., Brownlee, Joanne M., & Lupton, Mandy (2011) Teachers' conceptions of how to engage students through inquiry learning : foundations for STEM. In Proceedings of the 1st International Conference of STEM in Education 2010, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD.

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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 primary teachers. A phenomenographic analysis revealed three conceptions of teaching that support inquiry learning in science in the primary 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 of teaching 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 STEM.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 48477
Item Type: Conference Paper
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Inquiry learning, primary science, early years science, phenomenography, student engagement
ISBN: 9780646558127
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Mathematics and Numeracy Curriculum and Pedagogy (130208)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Science Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy (130212)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Deposited On: 07 Feb 2012 08:52
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2013 11:04

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