A teacher's level of inquiry-based chemistry and student's attitudes about high school chemistry

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University of Alabama Libraries

With the push for more student-centered, inquiry-based instruction in the forefront of science education, especially with the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards(NGSS), it is important to understand how inquiry-based instruction in chemistry affects students and teachers alike. Chemistry is important in the field of science because it is central to understanding all of the branches of science (Brown & Lemay, 1977). Since chemistry was first introduced into the secondary classroom, little has changed with the instructional practices since the early 19th century (Cooper, 2010; Johnstone, 2009; Shepard & Robbins, 2005). The National Science Foundation (1996) and the Next Generation Science Standards (2013) as well as numerous researchers want to move away from lecture-type learning and cookbook-type labs to a place of inquiry-based teaching and learning. This study explored how a teacher's attitude of chemistry is related to the use of inquiry-based instruction. This study was designed to provide insight on the experience of a chemistry teacher and explore factors that affect a high school chemistry teacher's willingness and ability to use the inquiry-based approach to instruction in their classroom. The results were similar to that of a Cheung (2009) study of chemistry teachers in Hong Kong. Teachers reported that time, resources, and professional development were important when deciding whether or not to use the 5E model of inquiry-based instruction. Teachers self-assessed their practice and were placed into groups of high, medium, or low inquiry-based teachers based on their self-assessment. Students were asked questions about their attitude toward chemistry. The student's score on the attitude survey and the teacher's level of inquiry-based instruction were not found to have statically significant relationship. However,the student's attitude toward chemistry provided insight to how a secondary student views chemistry instruction. Teachers must become comfortable with this method of teaching chemistry and understand that the old model of lecturing in chemistry is not the model needed to enhance chemistry instruction. With the push to inquiry-based science instruction from the NGSS, it is important now more than ever to understand inquiry-based instruction in chemistry.

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Education, Chemistry