IN SERVICE TEACHERS’ TRAINING BY RUNNING INQUIRY PROJECTS
National Institute for Laser, Plasma and Radiation Physics (ROMANIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:The Center for Science Education and Training, a small department at the National Institute for Laser, Plasma and radiation Physics, is active in supporting science education at pre-university level, from kindergarten to high school. The Center' team is involved in several national and European projects mostly devoted to inquiry-based teaching and to the use of “active research” methods in teachers’ CPD programs.
One of the approaches we use in training in-service teachers is by engaging them in running their personal inquiry-based projects on topics proposed by our Center. The topics selected are all focused on the investigation of real life issues, which facilitate children interaction with their environments and provoke their curiosity and creativity. The proposed activities offer opportunities for research type activities and are designed to assist both children and teachers to develop appropriate skills for inquiry, guiding them during the entire process: defining the problem to be investigated, setting the experiments/ measurements, reporting the results. In the mean time, the proposed projects are expected to develop an active citizenship attitude to children, assisting them in entering into a dialog with peers and communities to whom they belong to.
In order o reach as many schools as possible across the country we designed a collaborative platform (http://22.214.171.124/ibest/). The projects subjects cover activities which can be done from pre-school to high school, by complementing the lessons delivered according to the national curriculum, and they are: “Spring is coming”; “Weather and meteo parameters”; “Noise pollution”; “Water quality”; “Risks associated to UV radiation”. Teachers have to register on the collaborative platform where they can find instruction on the way to conduct the investigations, materials used, reporting formats. At the beginning of each calendar year teachers are invited to join the proposed activities and to run them over the school year. By the end of the project they have to report their findings together with children, results which are publically available on the platform. In this way a community of practice is formed and teachers can exchange impressions and expertise.
All the activities are performed under the umbrella of the national funded project Inquiry-Based Education in Science and Technology - i-BEST (http://education.inflpr.ro/ro/IBEST.htm).
The paper will describe the way this project is run and will introduce the audience to significant results we obtained.
The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Romanian Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI) for this study, through the grant no 223/ 2012, project “Inquiry-Based Education in Science and Technology: i-BEST”.
Keywords: Science teaching, inquiry-based science education.