27 SES 09 B, Tools for Studying Teaching Practices
Since PISA 2000, the performance of 15 year-old students from French speaking Community of Belgium (FWB) in science is largely below the OECD average (OECD, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013). This low level of performance is not really unexpected as it was already observed at grade 7 and grade 8 in TIMSS 1995 (Harmon, Smith & Martin, 1997). In mathematics and in reading, the average performance of the 15 year-olds do not significantly differ from the OECD mean.
Can these differences in performance in comparison with the OECD means be partly attributed to the emphasis and importance of the respective intended and implemented curricula? Does the relative importance of science teaching differ between primary and secondary education?
In this investigation, we make the assumptions that the problem already exists in primary education and persists in secondary education. Therefore, we will focus on primary education. Data will be mainly collected on opportunities to learn (OTL) for science education and on professional knowledge and teaching practices
More precisely, these study intents to question teachers at grade 3 and grade 4 about their beliefs and practices in science. Do the primary teachers feel confident and comfortable with science knowledge and science teaching? What’s the effective learning time of our pupils in science? Can we identify patterns of teachers that current international research has shown to have a significant role in science education of pupils?
According to current international research (Furtak, Seidel, Iverson & Briggs, 2012; Kobarg et al., 2011) the teaching and learning activities are recognized to have an effect on the development of scientific competencies and interest. Creemers and Kyriakides (2008) point out four main factors for educational effectiveness: (i) teacher’s qualifications and professional knowledge, (ii) teaching practices and classroom climate, (iii) learning time and (iv) learning opportunities.
In science, the teacher effective practices can be regard as a combination of general instructional qualities and science-specific instructional activities. First, Klieme, Pauli and Reusser (2009) confirm that three basic and general dimensions define the teaching quality: classroom management, supportive climate and cognitive activation or challenge. Second, science-specific instructional activities have been found to be pertinent to develop scientific skills and interest. Based on PISA 2006 data, Kobarg et al (2011) showed that some teacher profiles are linked to high scientific achievement while some others are preferentially related to student motivation.
Numerous researches (Furtak et al, 2012; Minner, Levy & Century, 2010) highlight that inquiry-based science teaching and learning has a benefit impact both on the development of scientific skills and on the student motivation and interest in science (Blanchard et al, 2010). Furtak et al (2012) introduced a framework for inquiry-based instruction. They distinguish two main dimensions: the cognitive and social activities of the student and the guidance provided to student by their teacher. First, the cognitive dimension of inquiry recognizes four facets from the three categories initially established by Duschl (2003, 2008): (i) the conceptual facet that mainly consists of science knowledge, (ii) the procedural facet that calls the scientific procedures and methods, (iii) the epistemic facet which refers to student understanding how scientific knowledge is generated and why scientific methods make sense and (iv) the social facet that takes into account the collaborative construction of science through interaction and communication. Second, the guidance dimension of inquiry is defined as a continuum based on the balance of leading between teacher and student, from teacher-led instruction (traditional instruction) on one end to student-led inquiry (discovery learning) on the other end.
Blanchard, M.R., Southerland, S.A., Osborne, J.W., Sampson, V.D., Annetta, L.A. & Granger, E.M. (2010). Is inquiry possible in light of accountability? A quantitative comparison of the relative effectiveness of guided inquiry and verification laboratory instruction. Science Education, 94(4), 577-616. Bleicher, E.B. (2004). Revisiting the STEBI-B: measuring self-efficacy in preservice elementary teachers. School Science and Mathematics, 104(8), 383-391. Creemers, B.P.M., & Kyriakides, L. (2008). The Dynamics of Educational Effectiveness: A Contribution to Policy, Practice and Theory, on Contemporary Schools, Routledge, London. Dusch, R.A. (2003). Assessment of inquiry. In J.M. Atkin & J. Coffey (Eds.), Every day assessment in the science classroom (pp. 41-59). Arlington, VA: NSTA Press. Dusch, R.A. (2008). Science education in three-part harmony: Balancing conceptual, epistemic, and social learning goals. Review of Research in Education, 32, 268-291. Enochs, L.G., & Riggs, I.M. (1990). Further development of an elementary science teaching efficacy belief instrument: a preservice elementary scale. School Science and Mathematics, 90(8), 694-706. Furtak, E.M., Seidel, T., Iverson, H., & Briggs, D. (2012). Experimental and quasi-experimental studies of inquiry-based science teaching: a meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 82(3), 300-329. Harmon, M., Smith, T.A., & Martin, M.O. (1997). Performance Assessment in IEA’s Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Chestnut Hill, HA: Boston College. Klieme, E., Pauli, C., & Reusser, K. (2009). The Pythagoras Study – Investigating effects of teaching and learning in Swiss and German mathematics classroom. In T. Janik and T. Seidel (Eds.), The Power of Video Studies in Investigating Teaching and Learning in the Classroom. (pp137-160). Münster: Waxmann. Kobarg, M., Prenzel, M., Seidel, T., Walker, M., McCrae, B., Cresswell, J., & Wittwwer, J. (2011). An International Comparison of Science Teaching and Learning: Further Results from PISA 2006, Waxmann, Münster. Minner, D.D., Levy, A.J., & Century, J. (2010). Inquiry-based science instruction – What is it and does it matter? Results from a Research Synthesis Years 1984 to 2002. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47, 474-496. OECD (2003). Literacy Skills for the World of Tomorrow. Further results from PISA 2000. OECD Publishing, Paris. OECD (2004). Learning for Tomorrow’s World: First Results from PISA 2003. OECD Publishing, Paris. OECD (2007). Science Competencies for Tomorrow’s Word. Vol 1 Analysis. OECD Publishing. Paris. OECD (2010). PISA 2009 Results: What Students can do? Student Performance in Reading, Mathematics and Science, Vol 1, OECD Publication, Paris. OECD (2013). PISA 2012 Results: What Students know and Can Do? Student Performance in Mathematics, Reading and Science, Vol1, OECD Publication, Paris. Riggs, I.M., & Enochs, L.G. (1990). Toward the development of an elementary teacher’s Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument. Science Education, 74, 625-637.
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