10 SES 09 C, Growth, Sustainability and Nature in Teacher Education
Recent innovations in science education - in and out of school - have focused on inquiry-based science teaching (IBST), which, done well, has been shown to support students' interest in science as well as the development of critical thinking skills. There is mounting evidence that Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) can stimulate students’ motivation in learning more about the world around us as well as supporting learners to develop a wide range of skills. However, the evidence suggests that significant professional development is required for IBST, particularly in the enactment of inquiry in classrooms, due to the complex and sophisticated nature of the approach (Capps et al 2012).
Funded by the European Union under the 7th Framework Programme Science and Society INQUIRE, Inquiry-based teacher training for a sustainable future, was a collaborative 3-year project connecting formal and informal education systems and the science education research community utilising recommendations on best practice in professional development (Timperly et al 2007, Darling-Hammond and McLaughlin,1995)
INQUIRE combined IBSE, LOtC and teacher training focusing on the themes of biodiversity and climate change. Through the sharing of expertise, 14 Botanic Gardens were supported in a continued and sustained way in developing their understanding of IBSE, reflective practice, evaluation and in the development of teacher training courses. The INQUIRE professional development design combines Vygotsky’s constructivist approach of ‘socio-cultural learning’ and Lave and Wenger’s ideas of ‘situated learning in communities of practice and gives a practice based example that this approach has a great potential to support organisational as well as individual development.
A main characteristic of Communities of Practice is that participants hold a common interest in the subject and collaborate over an extended period of time to share ideas, find solutions and build innovation. Shulman and Shulman (2004) noted that there is an ongoing interaction between an individual professional and the community. This leads to a shared knowledge of the team which finally offers members the opportunity to confirm, interconnect and develop their professional knowledge. Communities of Practice have proven already to be successful in supporting participant’s knowledge development.
INQUIRE focused on a heterogeneous group of people asking Botanic Gardens and Natural History Museums and science education researchers to come together and learn from and with each other. Professional Communities of Inuqiey, as termed in INQUIRE therefore offer the space for learners to discuss and exchange knowledge as well as to make use of the social capital individual members provide.
Lave and Wenger (1991) pointed out that social learning occurs as soon as people who have a common interest in some subject or problem collaborate over an extended period of time to share ideas, find solutions and build innovation. The INQUIRE learning community not only asked teachers and LOtC educators to become reflective practitioner and to improve their own learning and teaching skills while participating in INQUIRE training courses, but partner organisations collaborating in the INQUIRE project to do the same. The discourse and the different views of practitioners working in formal, informal and science education research learning environments served to enhance the process of reflection about individual classroom and botanic garden teaching experiences and to expand horizons, understandings and capabilities while partaking in professionally guided discourse about one’s teaching and learning.Thus the research question was how partner institution develope their understaning of IBSE while participating in an international project over a period of three years?
Capps, D.K., Crawford, B.A. & Constas, M.A. (2012). A Review of Empirical Literature on Inquiry Professional Development: Alignment with Best Practices and a Critique of the Findings, Journal of Science Teacher Education, 12, pp291-318 Darling-Hammond, L., & McLaughlin, M.W. (1995). Policies that support professional development in an era of reform, Phi Delta Kappan, 76(8), pp597-604 Loucks-Horsley, S., Hewson, P.W., Guskey, T.R. (2000). Evaluating Professional Development Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press Hatton, N. & Smith, D. (1995). 'Reflection in Teacher Education: Towards Definition and Implementation', Teaching and Teacher Education, 11 (1),pp33-49 Hofman, R. H., & Dijkstra, B. J. (2010). Effective teacher professionalization in networks? Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(4), pp1031-1040. Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated Learning. Legitimate Peripheral Participation.Cambridge University Press, Edinburg, UK Miles, M. B. & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis: An expanded Sourcebook. Sage Publications Shulman,L.S & Shulman, J.H. (2004). How and what teachers learn: a shifting perspective. Journal of Curriculum Studies 36(2), pp257-271 Timperley, H., Wilson, A., Barrar, H., and Fung, I. (2007). Teacher professional learning and development. Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Education.
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