A QUALITATIVE APPROACH TO STUDY THE ROLE AND IMPORTANCE OF INQUIRY-BASED LEARNING: PROFESSIONAL LEARNING EXPERIENCE OF TEACHER-EDUCATORS AND STUDENT-TEACHERS IN INITIAL TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMS
There is a general view that the transmission style of teaching is inadequate in helping students develop their learning in science, particularly in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) in Pakistan. Inquiry-based pedagogy in science is considered key means of improving an understanding of science and helps students cultivate their science literate thinking and develop their confidence to teach science effectively. In light of the key roles of inquiry-based pedagogy in initial science teacher education, this study explores the perceptions of teachers and students at a university in Punjab as how they understand the elements and process of inquiry-based pedagogy. The research is innovative in the context of exploring teacher-educators’ and student-teachers’ perceptions of inquiry-based pedagogy and also in relation to inquiry in the practicalities of their teaching at University in Punjab (Pakistan). Data has been collected using 2 focus groups with student-teachers and 20 interviews with teacher-educators. The result of this study indicates that the teachers and students mostly held positive views about inquiry-based pedagogy. Significantly, the teachers and students showed a limited understanding of the elements of inquiry-based pedagogy in ITE but they appreciated that they could facilitate the learning process using inquiry. When inquiry-based instructional strategies are integrated into a teaching science methods course, the majority of teachers developed a fair understanding of inquiry-based strategies in science. Moreover, the biggest challenges to inquiry are a non-supportive university academia, the current curriculum and assessment methods used. Finally, recommendations about the importance of teachers’ and students’ perceptions on inquiry-based pedagogy, arrangement of resources, preparation for teachers and students are made to the teacher-educators, University administration, and Higher Education Authority.
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