Learning to teach science through inquiry: Experiences of preservice teachers

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Ian C. Binns
Shannon Popp


This investigation explored the experiences of a cohort of preservice science teachers learning to teach science in their student teaching placements. Participants included seven preservice biology teachers enrolled in a one-year Master of Arts in Teaching program. One part of this program was to learn different ways to teach science, with one aspect focusing on inquiry instruction. Data sources included three open-ended surveys and two semi-structured interviews. A constant comparative approach was used for data analysis to understand the experiences of the preservice teachers during their student teaching placements. Results indicate that at the start of their student teaching placements, participants held favorable views of inquiry instruction and anticipated its use in the classrooms. However, opportunities to observe these methods in their mentor teacher’s classrooms were limited. This investigation reveals that while reform documents, as well as the majority of science educators, emphasize inquiry instruction, preservice teachers do not have the opportunities to practice this type of instruction during their student teaching placements. The successes and limitations of inquiry that did occur during their student teaching placements, as well as reasons preventing the use of inquiry, are explored.

Article Details

Research / Empirical
Author Biography

Ian C. Binns, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Department of Reading and Elementary Education

Assistant Professor