New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Pre-Service Teachers’ Challenges and Affordances in Implementing Inquiry-Based Science Teaching at Lower Primary

Maria I. Maya Febri, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway)

Ragnhild Lyngved Staberg, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway)


Literature shows the intention from both the science educators’ milieu and the policy makers to widespread the implementation of inquiry-based teaching and learning. However, the inquiry approach is not implemented as expected. Thus, a discrepancy is observed between intention, planning and implementation of inquiry at the classroom level. The lack of inquiry enactment is also the case in Norway, despite the good systemic support. Some of the obstacles to teach science through inquiry comprise lack of teachers’ knowledge and skills, lack of confidence and lack of ability to manage classroom and time. One possible way to overcome these obstacles is by equipping pre-service teachers with appropriate pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and pedagogical knowledge (PK) in their training program. Our study is a designed-based research with our pre-service teachers as participants. In our study, we looked at pre-service science teachers’ challenges and affordances when they faced the task of planning and implementing inquiry-based science teaching (IBST) at lower primary, followed by reflection on their experiences. Using thematic analysis framework, we looked for emerging patterns of challenges and affordances across our data set comprising of lesson plans, classroom observations, pre-service teacher focus group interviews, mentor teacher interviews and pre-service teachers self-reporting. Our preliminary analysis suggests that given the carefully designed support, the pre-service teachers have managed to implement inquiry-based science teaching even with very young students at first and second grade in primary school. A great range of scientific practices was implemented, including formulating hypothesis, making observation, constructing explanation and building argumentation. Some of the challenges involved insufficient classroom management skills that are specifically appropriate for this student age group and in lack of scaffolding skill for leading inquiry work in the classroom. However, despite the challenges, the affordances comprising of the usefulness of the 5E-model and the Nysgjerrigper Method as teacher guide introduced by the teacher educators, careful planning of the lessons and the children’s natural curiosity have supported the pre-service teachers in the implementation of IBST.

Keywords: Inquiry, science, implementation, lower primary, pre-service teachers training;

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