Use of inqury-based teaching during science lessons at secondary school level:the case of recsam trained teachers

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Moomba, Pisani Flint
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The University of Zambia
This research was aimed at exploring the use of inquiry-based teaching pedagogy (IBTP) in a Zambian secondary class as taught by science teachers trained at the Regional Centre for Education in Science and Mathematics (RECSAM) in Penang - Malaysia. The study endeavored to (i) investigate how RECSAM trained science teachers were implementing IBTP (ii) investigate how pupils were responding to the teaching methodologies of inquiry-based science teaching (iii) assess the benefits and challenges faced by pupils in Science classes where teachers used inquiry-based science teaching and (iv) establish the opportunities and challenges faced by RECSAM trained teachers in implementing inquiry lessons. The research followed a qualitative paradigm and used a multiple case study design. Research data was collected by means of eight semi-structured interviews, four focus group discussions, three lesson observations and document analysis. Results indicated some benefits of inquiry-based science teaching for both the teacher and the pupils. Pupils appreciated the methodology because of its promotion of hands-on or the practical aspect of learning because it increased pupils’ manipulation of apparatus. Pupils were said to always learn in small groups; this aspect fostered pupil participation at a micro class level. Some challenges in the implementation and use of inquiry-based teaching were highlighted too. For example, teachers failed to ascertain pupils’ prior knowledge. Inquiry-based teaching was also said to be time consuming and robbed teachers of the time to attend to other duties. Furthermore, teachers failed to improvise some apparatus hence rendering inquiry-based teaching methodology expensive at times especially that some teachers had to improvise using their own resources. It was also not clear when notes should be generated and given to pupils during the course of the inquiry process presentations. Challenges faced by pupils included being exposed to new and strange apparatus at times. Some pupils were said to make no effort to participate in group deliberations and class presentations. Arising from these findings, the researcher recommends the official institutionalisation of IBTP as part of In-service School Based Continuing Professional development (SBCPD). The researcher also recommends recognition of the teachers implementing IBTP as a critical mass that can be further trained to train more teachers. Another recommendation is inception of an official support system by the Ministry of General Education (MoGE) for former RECSAM trained science teachers. Keywords – Inquiry-based learning, teaching, benefits, challenges, opportunities
Inquiry-Based learning , Inquiry-based learning-- Teaching--Benefits-- Challenges-- Opportunities