Primary teachers conducting inquiry projects: the effect on attitude towards science and inquiry

Sandra van Aalderen-Smeets, Juliette Walma van der Molen

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This paper presents the results of a theoretically informed professionalisation project that was set up to improve primary teachers’ attitudes towards science and attitude towards inquiry. A positive attitude towards science is of fundamental importance for teachers when stimulating interest in science among primary school students. However, most professional development projects for primary teachers focus mainly on classroom didactics and traditional science lessons. It is questionable whether this approach results in improving teachers’ attitudes. One approach to change teachers’ attitudes towards science and inquiry is by having them experience a genuine inquiry process themselves. This paper presents a study on the effects of a year-long teacher inquiry project, on teachers’ attitudes towards science and towards inquiry. The effects were investigated using a pre-test-post-test experimental control group design (N = 62). After participating in the inquiry project, primary teachers showed significantly improved attitudes towards teaching science on two out of six attitude components and significantly improved their attitudes towards inquiry on two out of five attitude components compared to the control group. The results of this professionalization project will be linked to a previously developed theoretical framework of teachers’ attitude towards science and will be discussed in light of the results of another professionalization course that was more explicitly focused on teachers’ attitudes, rather than their inquiry skills. We will contrast these two approaches to expose key elements in primary teacher professional development for successful attitude improvement regarding science education
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2015
Event16th Biennial Conference of the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction (EARLI) 2015: Towards a reflective society: synergies between learning, teaching and research - Limassol, Cyprus
Duration: 25 Aug 201529 Aug 2015
Conference number: 16


Conference16th Biennial Conference of the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction (EARLI) 2015
Abbreviated titleEARLI

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