on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 10, Issue 1, Article 12
Roehrig and Luft (2004) investigated the constraints that beginning secondary science teachers experienced in the implementation of inquiry-based lessons while they participated in a science-focused induction program. Data was collected via multiple sources including demographic information, open-ended and semi-structured interviews about teaching beliefs, monthly classroom observations and a nature of science questionnaire. Teacher beliefs were captured using an open-ended interview at the beginning and end of the school year. Participantsí responses at interviews were categorized as didactic, transitional, conceptual, early constructivist, experienced constructivist or constructivist inquiry beliefs. Didactic and transitional responses represent teacher-centered beliefs, while early constructivist, experienced constructivist or constructivist inquiry responses represent student-centered beliefs. Each teacher was observed at least seven times during the school year by project staff. The authors categorized three broad groupings that emerged to represent the experiences, knowledge, beliefs and practices of these teachers: inquiry teachers, process-oriented teachers and traditional teachers. According to these results, four teachers were described as inquiry teachers as they implemented inquiry in their classrooms. Two of the teachers believed that science class consisted predominantly of activities and laboratories for students to learn science process skills. Eight teachers fell into the traditional group.
The results showed that none of the factors including teachersí content knowledge, views on the nature of science, teaching beliefs and pedagogical knowledge in isolation were found to be predictive of the implementation of inquiry-based instruction. Strong content knowledge combined with student-centered beliefs and a contemporary view of the nature of science increased the possibility that inquiry would be implemented in the classroom. Other constraints to implementing inquiry instruction became evident as the beginning science teachers were observed and interviewed during post-conferences. The most prevalent self-reported constraint among the beginning teachers was low student ability and motivation. Another constraint reported in this study was the management risk of science as inquiry.
In addition, Tobin and McRobbie (1996) investigated the enacted science curriculum and factors that impede reforms in secondary science classes. In their study, data was collected from a chemistry teacher and his eleventh-grade students using the Classroom Environment Survey developed by Tobin, classroom observations and interviews. The authors identified four cultural myths that were supported by both the teacher and students including the transmission of knowledge, being efficient, maintaining the rigor of the curriculum and preparing students to be successful on examinations. The transmission myth views the teacher as a transmitter of knowledge and students as receivers of knowledge. The efficiency myth expresses the beliefs that teachers have control of students and covering content is more important than student learning. The myth of rigor includes the beliefs that the teacherís role is to identify the content to be learned and decide what tasks are appropriate for students. Tests and examinations are focused on in the enacted curriculum and result in an emphasis on low cognitive-level types of engagement by students. The authors discussed that these beliefs are obstacles to the reform of science education and should be addressed to facilitate the implementation of reform in science classrooms.
Copyright (C) 2009 HKIEd APFSLT. Volume 10, Issue 1, Article 12 (Jun., 2009). All Rights Reserved.