‘You have 25 kids playing around!’: learning to implement inquiry-based science learning in an urban second-grade classroom

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Abstract

This qualitative case study documents pedagogical changes from a traditional teacher-centred instruction to an inquiry-based integrated literacy/science instruction in an urban second grade classroom. Social constructivist learning, where teachers and learners engage in discussion, argumentation, shared collective discourse, guided practice and apprenticeship underpin the methods utilised for supporting children’s inquiry learning in this project. Data sources included children’s interviews, audiotaped classroom interactions, children’s work samples, and interviews with the teacher. The analysis indicates that in the beginning of the project, Lauren, the classroom teacher, did not observe the depth and quality of learning and had to teach foundational skills for inquiry with children. Later in the project, she began seeing her learners’ high intellectual capabilities and autonomy and allowed them to be more autonomous in the learning process. However, Lauren still struggled with sharing the initiative and authority with children and letting children lead the learning processes. Lauren’s story is an example of the potential challenges that other teachers face as they begin exploring constructivist approaches. Real and honest accounts of the implementation of high-quality practices in urban schools, where traditional approaches are common, are important to support other practitioners in similar contexts, who also intend to transform their practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-349
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 11 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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