ERG SES G 03, Science Teachers' Education
Inquiry-based learning has emerged in the 1950s in Western countries through the influence of educational reformers such as Piaget, Ausubel, Bruner, and Dewey. This approach conveys the process of teaching how to do science. This learning approach is classified as structured, guided and open inquiry. Structured inquiry is ideal for the age group covering pre-school and early years of primary school, guided inquiry is appropriate for the first years of primary and secondary school, and open inquiry is feasible for older age groups (Martin, 2009). Throughout this study, guided inquiry activities were conducted in 4th grade science classes. Guided inquiry provides opportunities for students to learn by doing. Knowledge and skills targeted by the curriculum could be gained by the students in an inquiry based learning environment, if it is well-planned and well-executed by the teacher (Martin, 2009). Previous literature suggests that guided inquiry learning approach develops students’ attitudes toward science, science achievement, science process skills, problem-solving skills, reflective thinking skills, creative and critical thinking skills (e.g., Duru et al., 2011; Parim, 2008). As it is stated above, the teacher has a key role in an inquiry based learning process. Success of the inquiry depends on the quality of classroom interactions created by the teacher. Teacher-to-student and student-to-student interactions facilitate students’ acquisition of scientific knowledge, favorable attitudes and necessary skills. Teachers’ performance in the classroom is closely related with students’ performance. In a primary school, all of the courses are taught by only one teacher. If a teacher implements guided inquiry approach while teaching science, students might ask their teacher to have other classes like science, which facilitates adaptation of inquiry based instruction. For this reason, this study explores teacher change in an inquiry based science learning environment in a primary school. In the context of this problem, it was investigated what the teaching purpose of the teacher, communicative approach, patterns of interaction, teacher interventions and discourse types, affective and cognitive development.
The research is qualitatively designed because it is intended to analyze teacher change in an inquiry-based learning environment deeply. A scientific collaborative action research technique was used to observe the effects of inquiry-based learning approach in teacher development. In this technique there is intense interaction between the investigator (expert) and the practitioner. And the whole process is described in detail (Yıldırım & Şimşek, 2011). Observations and interviews were used to collect data. A total of 20 weeks observations were made throughout the process, video recording was taken and two semi-structured interviews were conducted at the beginning and end of the process. Prior to selecting sample, all the primary schools in the city which researcher lives were visited. Information meetings were held and volunteer participants were searched. A total of 14 volunteer teachers from the city were given 3-day training about inquiry-based science teaching practices by the researchers. At the end of the training, the teachers who are volunteer to join the practice in two semesters with on-the-job support were identified. Because all of the teachers were volunteer to participate in study, a male teacher who had a 4th grade class was selected purposively. The teacher works in a village closer to the city center and has 21 years of professional experience at age 47. At the beginning of the study, a semi-structured interview was conducted with the teacher. The teacher was provided on-the-job support on a gradually decreasing level throughout the year. Initially the lessons were maintained by one of the researchers. The teacher gradually began to take over the course dominance after 5 weeks. Meetings were held before and after the lesson in order to support the teaching of the lesson. All lessons were recorded using a video camera. Video recordings were watched with the teacher to reflect and discuss on teaching interventions. After the 17th week, on-the-job support was ended. At the end of the 20th week process, a general evaluation meeting and a second semi-structured interview was held with the teacher. The data obtained from the interviews, the results of the observations and the data obtained by the discourse transcripts were interpreted with an inductive content analysis and discourse analysis.
Research findings suggest that inquiry based science teaching has helped primary school teachers improve themselves in many ways. Since classroom interaction and a dialogue structure are involved in this approach, the teacher demonstrated a change in his interaction model and communication approach through long-term implementation of this approach. Successful implementation of the approach resulted in a positive teacher change despite taking long time. This study indicated the impact of teacher-student interactions on meaning making process. Previous research conducted about inquiry-based science teaching at primary level generally focused on the influence of this teaching approach on student outcomes. This study is expected to contribute to the field in terms of providing evidence for the effect of inquiry-based science teaching approach on teacher change at primary level.Due to word limitations, all development sections can only be given at presentation.During the process the development themes have been described as the teaching purpose of the teacher, communicative approach, patterns of interaction, teacher interventions,discourse types, affective and cognitive developments.
Duru, M. K., Demir, S., Önen, F., & Similar, E. (2011). Impact of inquiry-based laboratory applications on laboratory perception and scientific process skills of prospective teachers, Journal of Atatürk Education Faculty, 33, 25-44. Kaya, O.N. & Kılıç, Z. (2010). Dialogues in science classes and their effects on learning. Kastamonu Education Journal, 18 (1), 115-130. Mortimer, E. F. & Scott, P. H. (2003). Meaning making in secondary science slassrooms. Maidenhead, PA: Open University Press. Martin, D. (2009). Elementary science methods: A constructivist approach. Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 242-252. Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Focusing and bounding the collection of data. Qualitative data analysis: an expanded sourcebook, 2, 16-39. Parim, G. (2009). The effects of research based learning in the development of photosynthesis, respiration concepts, achievement and scientific process skills in 8th grade primary school students. Unpublished PhD thesis, Marmara University Institute of Educational Sciences. Scott, P. H., Mortimer, E. F., & Aguiar, O. G. (2006). The tension between authoritative and dialogic discourse: A fundamental characteristic of meaning making interactions in high school science lessons. Science Education, 90(4), 605-631. Yıldırım, A., & Şimşek, H. (2011). Sosyal bilimlerde nitel arastirma yöntemleri. Seçkin Yayıncılık.
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