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Teachers' language on scientific inquiry: methods of teaching or methods of inquiry?

[journal article]

Gyllenpalm, Jakob; Wickman, Per-Olof; Holmgren, Sven-Olof

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-251301

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Abstract With a focus on the use of language related to scientific inquiry, this paper explores how 12 secondary school science teachers describe instances of students’ practical work in their science classes. The purpose of the study was to shed light on the culture and traditions of secondary school science teaching related to inquiry as expressed in the use of language. Data consisted of semi-structured interviews about actual inquiry units used by the teachers. These were used to situate the discussion of their teaching in a real context. The theoretical background is socio-cultural and pragmatist views on the role of language in science learning. The analysis focuses on two concepts of scientific inquiry: hypothesis and experiment. It is shown that the teachers tend to use these terms with a pedagogical function thus conflating methods of teaching with methods of inquiry as part of an emphasis on teaching the children the correct explanation. The teachers did not prioritise an understanding of scientific inquiry as a knowledge goal. It is discusses how learners possibilities to learn about the characteristics of scientific inquiry and the nature of science are affected by an unreflective use of everyday discourse.
Classification Curriculum, Teaching, Didactics
Free Keywords inquiry-based teaching; laboratory work; language; teacher knowledge; science education
Document language English
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 1151-1172
Journal International Journal of Science Education, 32 (2010) 9
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500690902977457
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)