Title

Feasibility of inquiry-based teaching in a lower secondary class (grade VII) of a government school in Karachi

Date of Award

8-1-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

According to the national curriculum for Science (2006) major aim of teaching science is to develop scientific thinking in students, which can lead students to critical thinking, creativity and construction of practical based knowledge and they can relate science with their daily life experiences. In order to achieve this goal, there is dire need ofshifting classroom practices from teacher-centered to student-centered approach by adopting such teaching strategies where students can play dominant role. Inquiry-based teaching (IBT) is one of the teaching methods, which encourages construction of knowledge through students' participation. In this method students construct knowledge by identifying a problem, formulating question and hypotheses, collecting data and drawing conclusion through investigation. However, the practices of IBT do not exist in our science classroom. Therefore, this study is conducted to explore the feasibility of IBT in lower secondary section (Grade VII) of government school in Karachi (Pakistan). Keeping in view the nature of the study action research methodology based on Kemmis, Mc Taggart and Retallick (2004) cyclic model was employed. In total nine lessons were taught over a period of three weeks in the participant class. Data were collected through observation, interviews and informal discussion. There were two types of analysis one on going which was done along with data collection and overall which was done having completed the data collection phase. Inquiry was started from cookbook approach and the aim was to reach to independent inquiry. Finding of this study revealed that students started the journey of IBT from cook book, where they did the experiments according to the teacher's instructions. While at the end of nine lessons they reached somewhere between structured and guided inquiry where they did the investigation, made observation, collected the data and drew the conclusion. Findings of this study also showed a reasonable progression in terms of ability to respond and ask questions, conduct science experiment and collecting data. This study has highlighted group work, planning, piloting and use of no cost low cost material as promoting factors while, large classes, syllabus coverage and nature of exam as challenges in the implementation of IBT. The study has implications for science teachers as well as teacher educators in their teaching of science and professional training programmes respectively. It also generated many possibilities for further studies.

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