“YOU SAW WHAT?” MOVING TOWARD HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE INQUIRY IN INDIA
Saginaw Valley State University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:The researcher was asked by the Chairman of a private school for girls in India to assist the science teachers at the school in moving classroom instruction towards a more inquiry based teaching method. This work has been proceeding for six years. The prevailing methodology at the school was that of direct instruction. The researcher, along with three undergraduate teacher candidates, conducted a series of demonstration lessons for students to engage in and for teachers to observe. After the lessons teachers from the Indian school were asked for feedback and questions.
Because the responses from the Indian students were so confounding the study was repeated in June of 2015.
The key findings of this study suggest the teachers are willing to move from the direct teaching format in science instruction to an inquiry model, but are fearful of a drop in standardized test scores during the implementation period. Therefore, they would rather keep the direct instruction method that has been shown to generate high standardized test scores thus keeping their jobs.
The students, on the other hand, are so focused on “the correct answer” that any variation in observation from their intial hypothesis is quickly rejected. The Chairman wants an immediate move to inquiry teaching on one hand, but without a fluctuation of scores. This is problematic for the students at the Indian school since they have not had enough experience in trusting their observations against their initial hypothesis.
Keywords: Science education, international education, inquiry, teacher education.