Reform-Based Science Teaching: Teachers’ Instructional Practices and Conceptions
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Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, ISRAEL
Publication date: 2008-01-22
EURASIA J. Math., Sci Tech. Ed 2008;4(1):11–20
This study aimed at exploring the practices and beliefs physics teachers have about introducing reform-based instruction into the physics class. Data were collected from semi-structured interviews held with 11 experienced physics teachers. The results revealed that the teachers occasionally introduced a small number of enhanced instructional strategies explicitly required by the formal curriculum into their class, such as presenting, analyzing and generalizing experimental results in different forms. However, the teachers used much fewer other strategies aimed at enhancing higher-order thinking, such as asking students to formulate their own questions or introducing them to problem-solving strategies used in class. Although physics is considered a relatively well-established subject in Israeli schools, extensive differences have been identified among teachers in issues such as using rich instructional strategies in class, their self-confidence in utilizing progressive instruction, and their beliefs about students’ abilities to develop higher-order thinking. Teachers often regard reform-based instruction as an idealistic view rather than a clear schooling practice; further work is required in teachers’ pre-service and in-service training to make the fostering of higher-order thinking a common ingredient in science teaching.