ERIC Number: ED464840
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002-Apr
The Reproduction of Cultural Models of "Inquiry" by Pre-Service Science Teachers: An Examination of Thought and Action.
"Inquiry" is the enterprise by which scientists generate theory. It is also a broadly-applied label for instructional approaches in which teachers and students emulate the activity of scientists in order to generate personal knowledge of natural phenomena and to come to understand the canons of disciplinary knowledge-building. Despite the ubiquity of the term "inquiry" in science education literature, little is known about how pre-service teachers conceptualize inquiry, how these conceptions are formed and reinforced, how they relate to the actual work done by scientists, and how teachers' ideas about inquiry are translated into classroom practice. This is the third in a series of studies that have examined these issues within the context of pre-service education. This is a multi-case study in which 12 pre-service secondary science teachers developed their own empirical investigations from formulating questions to defending results in front of peers. The participants maintained journals throughout this experience, were then interviewed, and then followed into their 9 week teaching practicum. Findings indicate that there were implicit cultural models that participants used to make sense of their inquiry, and that these models guided the conduct and reflections of participants in the study. Some of the rules underlying these cultural models were congruent with a limited view of science inquiry, however, the most consistently implied rules across participants were misrepresentations of some of the most fundamental aspects of scientific inquiry. Another theme that came to light was a relationship between participants' struggles with their own investigations and, the emergence of a classroom model of inquiry that emphasized the need to "help" their future students engage in this enterprise. Participants identified three general strategies for instructional support: direct instruction on aspects of inquiry, adding more structure to the inquiry process, and, using scaffolding techniques centered on sense-making activities and peer dialogue as a way to learn. Finally, as was true in the first two studies in this series, the participants with significant, long-term research experiences and science content background were most likely actually to use inquiry in their own classrooms. Field Supervisor Observation Instrument and Thinking about the Nature of Science (NOS) exercise are appended. (Contains 50 references and 3 figures.) (Author/MM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 1-5, 2002).