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Enhancing primary science: An exploration of teachers' own ideas of solutions to challenges in inquiry- and context-based teaching
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. (SMEER)
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Health Sciences. (SMEER)
Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences. (SMEER)
2015 (English)In: Education 3-13, ISSN 0300-4279, E-ISSN 1475-7575, Vol. 44, no 1, 81-92 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Studies of inquiry- and context-based science education (IC-BaSE) have shown that teachers find these approaches problematic. In this study, 12 primary school teachers’ reflections on challenges related to IC-BaSE are explored. The aim of the study was to investigate which challenges primary teachers experience when working with IC-BaSE and how these may be solved. Group discussions and individual portfolios were used for data collection. Content analysis showed that the challenges teachers experienced were mainly practical relating to: how to find contexts, lack of time, handling big classes, students working at different paces, handling materials, and the teachers' need of control. The teachers also presented their own ideas of solutions to the challenges.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2015. Vol. 44, no 1, 81-92 p.
Keyword [en]
inquiry- and context-based education; primary school; practical challenges; solutions
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-38249DOI: 10.1080/03004279.2015.1092456ISI: 000372337700009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-38249DiVA: diva2:865159
Available from: 2015-10-27 Created: 2015-10-27 Last updated: 2016-05-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. From doing to learning: Inquiry- and context-based science education in primary school
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From doing to learning: Inquiry- and context-based science education in primary school
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to develop an understanding of primary school teachers’ knowledge of Inquiry- and Context-Based Science Education (IC-BaSE) from different perspectives: what it is, how to use it and why these strategies are used. There are at least two reasons for performing research in this field. First, there is a need for professional development in teaching science among primary school teachers. Second, IC-BaSE has been suggested to provide useful instructional strategies for stimulating students’ interests in learning science. The thesis contains four papers with the overall research question: How do primary school teachers reflect on Inquiry- and Context-based Science Education as a framework for teaching and learning in the primary school classroom? Both quantitative and qualitative research methods have been used. The main participants in the studies were twelve primary school teachers working with 10-12 year old students. The results are discussed with reference to theories mainly based on pragmatism, but also from a sociocultural perspective. Primary school teachers found IC-BaSE to provide useful instructional strategies in the primary school classroom, as it engaged their students and developed their skills in planning inquiries. The teachers developed their knowledge about IC-BaSE, what it is and how to use it.  Furthermore, the primary purpose of using IC-BaSE seemed to be that students should have fun. Students also responded positive to the use of IC-BaSE. However when teachers were informed about their students’ responses to IC-BaSE, they became more aware of the importance of informing the students about the purposes of the activities. The findings presented show that teachers need to move forward, not only be “doing”, but also knowing why they are doing the activities and how to do them. Students’ experiences can contribute to this awareness among teachers and develop the teaching practice.

Abstract [en]

Inquiry- and context-based science education (IC-BaSE) have been suggested as useful, stimulating students´ interests in learning science. The aim of this thesis is to develop an understanding of primary school teachers’ knowledge of IC-BaSE from different perspectives: what it is, how to use it and why these strategies are used.

The results are discussed with reference to theories mainly based on pragmatism, but also from a sociocultural perspective. The findings show that primary school teachers found IC-BaSE useful in the primary school classroom, as it engaged their students and developed their skills in planning inquiries. Students´ experiences of IC-BaSE are included and show positive responses to the use of these strategies. However, when teachers were informed about their students’ responses, they became more aware of the importance of informing the students about the purposes of the activities, and to reflect on why they themselves choose IC-BaSE as instructional strategies.

The findings presented show that teachers need to move forward, not only be “doing”, but also knowing why they are doing the activities and how to do them. Students’ experiences can contribute to this awareness among teachers and develop the teaching practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstad University Press, 2016. 107 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2016:16
Keyword
inquiry- and context-based, instructional strategies, primary school, science education
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-41100 (URN)978-91-7063-694-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-05-20, Eva Erikssonsalen, 21 A 342, Karlstad University, Karlstad, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-04-28 Created: 2016-03-21 Last updated: 2016-04-28Bibliographically approved

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