01 SES 08 A, Symposium: Inquiry-Based Teaching and Learning
During the course of a large European project (S-TEAM) disseminating inquiry-based science teaching (IBST) methods, considerable efforts have been made to create teacher professional development (TPD) courses or modules in specific national contexts. There have also been attempts to transfer these courses to different national contexts, raising various issues about the transferability of concepts within teacher education and pedagogy.
The symposium tackles two linked questions: 1/ What are the issues involved in translating teacher professional development activities into different national contexts. 2/Are there common understandings of concepts such as inquiry at European level?
The papers will be drawn on S-TEAM outcomes for the end of this project is scheduled for May 2012.
The first paper tackles the implementation of TPD for inquiry in France through a comparative way. It is drawn on a conceptual framework for inquiry which merges both didactical theoretical approaches, and activity theory framework. Results stress the efficiency of CPD programmes based on teacher collaboration.
The second paper addresses argumentation which is a crucial aspect both of teacher and students activities. It shows the effect of a specific teacher education programme in Lithuania on the student’s argumentative competences. Teachers state that from this program they acquired the competence to present multifunctional argumentative discourse for their pupils/ students, for the written scientific text and for the oral public presentation.
The third paper reports a study about attitudes of future teachers towards IBST. Drawn on Czech case study, the paper tackles the change of students’ subjective theory of teaching. It explores several personal factors which could foster or undermine it.
Finally, the fourth paper focuses on the philosophy of the PISCES module in Scotland which produced a working model for TPD in science education that has now also been tried in Latvia. This emphasises empowerment resulting from professional learning through experiments in practice, and raises questions about how far pre-existing definitions of a pedagogical technique can be imposed on teachers. Finally, it compares the results of pilot implementations of PISCES in Scotland and Latvia which produced rich data about the generation of understandings of pedagogical processes across national boundaries.
There is a debate about the emergence of a European space for educational research and for educational thinking in general. These papers contribute to the debate by providing answers to questions about the mutual recognition of significant concepts and the value of trans-national actions, such as S-TEAM, in working across borders. The impending arrival of the Horizon 2020 programme, successor to FP7, is crucial to the future of educational research in Europe, and, given the political importance of teacher quality, is also crucial to research in teacher education. The symposium argues that it is not only possible to achieve meaningful cross-border exchanges within TPD, but that it is also essential to achieve them.
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