Studying the quality of inquiry-based teaching in science classrooms

A little girl in a lab coat studying engaging in inquiry with a microscope
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Hot off the press! Our new research paper on inquiry-based science teaching is out now, shedding light on how this instructional method can enhance teaching quality and student participation 🧑‍🏫

The essence of our study? We sought to characterises the quality of inquiry-based science teaching and investigate how this teaching approach impacts student participation in actual classrooms settings. 


To answer this question, we turned our lenses to primary and lower-secondary schools in Norway, embarking on a systematic video analysis of classroom practices across 20 different schools 🕵️ 


So, what did we uncover? Our findings identified differences in the quality of individual inquiry phases, especially between primary and lower-secondary schools. Interestingly, we noticed that primary-school students collected and documented data more systematically than their counterparts in lower-secondary. Moreover, we found that consolidations - those critical moments of knowledge cementing - were slightly more emphasised and of higher quality at the lower-secondary level compared to primary. Perhaps one of the most exciting findings is that inquiry-based teaching bolsters the quality of student participation and empowers students to make their own choices, thereby strengthening their agency. 


What's next? With our insights, we hope to prompt discussions on how teachers can leverage inquiry-based instruction to improve teaching quality and empower students in their classrooms. After all, the journey to shaping the scientists of tomorrow starts in the classrooms of today 🙂

Kersting, M., Karlsen, S., Ødegaard, M., Olufsen, M., Kjærnsli, M., & Lunde, M. L. S. (2023). Studying the quality of inquiry-based teaching in science classrooms. International Journal of Science Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2023.2213386

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