Title

Exploring students' responses to inquiry approach to teaching in a lower secondary science classroom

Date of Award

4-1-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Professional Development Centre, Karachi

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the students' response to inquiry approach to teaching science in a lower secondary classroom of a government boys secondary school in Karachi, Pakistan. An action research approach of Kemmis, McTaggart and Retallic (2004) model was employed in the study. A focus group of six students of class 8th and their science teacher participated in the study. Data were collected through interviews, field notes and reflective journal of the researcher, students’ work and reflections and observations. Key findings of the study identified examination-oriented and teacher-centred teaching as the prevailing practice in the science classroom. Students viewed Science as a bunch of information. They considered science as valuable field of study due to its ability to secure them better jobs especially in the field of medicine and engineering. In addition, the findings revealed that students' cultural, religious and family belief shaped their views about teaching and learning science. The study has also revealed that students have alternative framework about the scientific concepts such as vision and living and non living things. The study documented students' curiosity and motivations to learn science once they were exposed to the inquiry approach in the classroom. They made considerable efforts to participate in different steps of inquiry in science. Improvement in raising questions, and presentation of their findings in a variety of ways (e.g. diagrams, tables, description) reflected their active involvement in the inquiry approach to teaching in science classroom. The study also explains that the students faced difficulty in formulating questions and hypothesis, writing and recording data and working in groups and pairs. The study suggests that the inquiry approach to teaching in science is a joint venture of students and teachers. It demands high level of participation from both teachers as well as students. Therefore, the teachers must understand students' previous experiences and views of learning science. Findings of the study have led to recommend future inquiries into the influence of cultural and religious beliefs on students' views about scientific phenomenon and learning of science.

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