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Science Teacher Education Advanced Methods Project Work Package 6. Work Package 6 Meeting Nottingham, January 2010. The purpose of this meeting. Summarize the work conducted in WP6 during the first 9 months of the project

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Science teacher education advanced methods project work package 6

Science Teacher Education Advanced Methods Project

Work Package 6

Work Package 6 Meeting

Nottingham, January 2010

The purpose of this meeting
The purpose of this meeting

  • Summarize the work conducted in WP6 during the first 9 months of the project

  • Facilitate coherence and uniformity in interpretations of the various aspects of inquiry-oriented teaching and learning (IBST/E)

  • Indentify relationships among the work of different partners in WP6 and with other WPs

  • Organize and coordinate the future steps of WP6


  • 14:00 Introductions

  • 14:15 Aims of the Meeting Costas Constantinou

  • 14:30 Short presentations by individual institutions

    •  European University Cyprus (CYCO, Cyprus) Loucas Louca

    • Vilnius Pedagogical University (VPU, Lithuania) Dalius Dapkus

    • University of Copenhagen (UCPH, Denmark) Robert Evans

    • University of Leeds (UnivLeeds, UK) Jaume Ametller

    • Helsinki University (HU, Finland) Kalle Juuti

  • 15:45 Coffee Break

  • 16:15 Short presentations by individual institutions continued…

    •  Mälardalen Univesity (MDU, Sweden) Margareta Enghag

    • Abo Akademi University (ABO, Finland) Berit Kurtén-Finnäs

    • Gazi University (GU, Turkey) Mehmet Fatih Tasar

    • University of South Bohemia (USB, Czech Republic) Jan Petr

    • Aarhus University (AU, Denmark) Lars Brian Krogh

  • 17:30 Next Steps Loucas Louca

Structure of presentations
Structure of presentations

  • 10 minutes for a short presentation related to the work contributing to WP6.

    • Description of the training package

      • Objectives and main focus (e.g., argumentation, motivation)

      • Duration (in hrs),

      • School level (e.g., primary school)

      • Science domain (e.g., chemistry)

    • Description of the need(s) for training in the particular proposed domain of IBST/E

    • Process information

      • Development of the training package

      • Validation (ie implement, study, evaluate and refine) of the training package

  • 5 minutes for discussion, comments, clarifications etc

Inquiry in science education
Inquiry in science education

  • Numerous calls for promoting inquiry in elementary grades.

  • However, the agenda has yet to establish an instructional practice for a number of reasons.

Disagreements on what is important about inquiry
Disagreements on what is important about inquiry

  • While there is consensus about the importance of inquiry in science learning, we do not have broad agreement about what scientific inquiry looks like in the science classroom.

  • Answers have varied from Hawkins’s (1974) general appeal for “messing about” to more specific targets of developing “concrete” abilities of observation and controlling variables in experiments.

Disagreements about the development of abilities for scientific inquiry
Disagreements about the developmentof abilities for scientific inquiry

  • Developmental perspective

    • One view has taken a developmental perspective, suggesting that abilities increase with the subjects’ age, as part of general cognitive development.

  • Critique to developmental perspectives

    • A second view has argued that developmental perspectives have systematically underestimated children’s abilities, and that differences in findings reflect the contexts of the interviews and framing of the questions (Metz, 1995; Koslwoski, 1996; Samarapungavan, 1992).

  • Perspective that abilities can be explicitly taught

    • A third approach has argued that abilities should be explicitly taught as early as in elementary school, and has motivated the development of pedagogical practices that specifically support different elements of scientific inquiry.

Disagreements regarding what productive inquiry entails
Disagreements regarding what productive inquiry entails

  • Scientific Inquiry refers to the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on the evidence derived from their work. Inquiry also refers to the activities of students in which they develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists study the natural world (National Science Education Standards, 1996, p.23)

Even given a particular account of students inquiry
Even given a particular account of students’ inquiry…

…there is the challenge of monitoring student progress in the classroom.

Assessing student thinking is challenging work, whether done during class by "instinct" because there is little time for reflection, or after class when there is more time for explicit reflection.

There is the challenge of diagnosing student progress in any particular classroom situation

Identify → Interpret & Evaluate → Respond

Our approach
Our approach…

  • An important aspect of inquiry is engaging students in the active pursuit of causal, coherent explanations of natural phenomena (Hammer, 2004)

    • That pursuit may take many forms, both experimental and theoretical

    • In whatever form, the instructional agenda is to help students learn to actively engage in that pursuit for themselves

    • It includes a number of different elements such as abilities for argumentation (Erduran et al., 2004), mechanistic reasoning (Russ et al., 2008), analogical reasoning (May et al., 2006), and scientific explanations (Zacharia, 2005).

    • Children come to class already with (the beginnings of) abilities for scientific inquiry, and that teachers need to help them refine those abilities and develop reliable access to those abilities for using them in the right context and time.

  • Teachers need to develop

    • their in-class "instincts" for evaluating what they see and responding with little reflection.

    • A repertoire of instructional strategies that they can choose from in any particular situation in that little time available for teaching.

Inquiry based science education in cyprus
Inquiry-based science education in Cyprus

Prevalent, Common, Rare, Only in exceptional circumstances

Our training packages
Our training packages …

  • Will seek to help teachers develop teaching strategies for supporting student abilities for scientific inquiry: to identify, interpret, and appropriately respond to their students’ in-class scientific thinking and reasoning abilities.

  • School Level

    • Kindergarten

    • Elementary

    • Middle School

  • Physical Science

  • About 10 face-to-face meetings of 2-2.5 hours each and a few on-line collaborations

Training activities will include
Training activities will include…

  • Teacher hands-on activities with physical phenomena

  • Develop lesson plans

  • Teach developed lesson plans

  • Reflections (about activities, about videos, about their teachings etc)


  • Exemplary practices in science teaching from authentic science classrooms in Cyprus

    • Louca et al, submitted

    • analyzed science lessons from Cyprus to identify teaching practices for supporting student inquiry in science

  • The needs of science teachers of Cyprus related to inquiry teaching and learning in science

    • focus group interviews with teachers regarding inquiry-based teaching and learning in science

    • Analysis of the national workshop

  • Existing models, knowledge and experience from the international literature concerning designing and implementing professional development training

    • Fishman et al’s (2003) model of teacher learning during professional development which implements an action-research model for in-service training of teachers

Research question
Research Question

  • “What are the current needs of the science teacher community in Cyprus related to IBST/E?”

  • Our main effort is to develop a better understanding of the real needs of science teachers in Cyprus, related to IBST/E. To do so, we will identify both the areas/aspects of scientific inquiry as well as related areas which influence everyday science teaching enactment of teachers. Consequently, the following subsidiary research questions will be investigated:

    • What do people involved in science teaching in Cyprus (inspectors, teachers, teacher educators etc) understand IBST/E to involve?

    • What does exemplary science teaching in terms of IBST/E look like in authentic contexts? What are its characteristics?


  • teacher interview data

    • pedagogical knowledge

    • pedagogical content knowledge

    • epistemological knowledge

  • teacher reflective discussions

  • videotaped science lessons

  • teacher-designed science lessons