Influencing pre-service science teachers' approach to inquiry and assessment

Hinch, Leeanne (2017) Influencing pre-service science teachers' approach to inquiry and assessment.


Inquiry based science education has been identified in the literature as a methodology suitable for the development of content knowledge and skills in science. Over the past number of years, inquiry teaching and learning has been endorsed as an appropriate method for learning science in various reports and now has a place in many national curricula. However, research has shown that there are many challenges faced by teachers who are attempting to implement inquiry instruction in their classrooms. A particular challenge faced by pre-service teachers is that, in spite of the content of initial teacher education programmes, novice teachers frequently teach as they were taught themselves in the classroom. During initial teacher education, pre-service teachers need to be prepared in such a way that they are confident and competent with inquiry instruction This study focusses on the determination of European and Irish pre-service teachers’ understanding and views of inquiry practices, and of assessment in inquiry practices, and how these change following participation in inquiry workshops. This study determined that the greater the pre-service teachers’ understanding of inquiry, the more they would consider inquiry as their main teaching method in future. Prior experience with inquiry has an impact on pre-service teachers’ understanding and views towards inquiry. European pre-service science teachers’ inquiry assessment practices and their confidence with carrying these out in the classroom have also been investigated. Confidence had a major impact on the practices of the pre-service teachers.
These findings were then used to design a chemistry laboratory module for pre-service teachers to support them in the development of their knowledge of and views towards inquiry. The laboratory based chemistry module was developed and implemented with a group of pre-service teachers. Evaluation of the impact of the module shows that participants’ inquiry skills were successfully developed and there is a movement towards teaching through inquiry practices. Key aspects of the module are highlighted to inform other such programmes.

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