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The impact of teaching an inquiry-based scheme of work on pupils’ attainment and critical thinking skills; and on the pupils’ and teachers’ perceptions of inquiry-based teaching in science.

Atkinson, Emma Jane (2016) The impact of teaching an inquiry-based scheme of work on pupils’ attainment and critical thinking skills; and on the pupils’ and teachers’ perceptions of inquiry-based teaching in science. MA by research thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This research was conducted to test the researcher’s view that when pupils learn science through inquiry-based teaching strategies, they improve their understanding of the subject and develop critical thinking skills. Although there is much research into inquiry-based teaching and learning, definitions are varied, and as such this research developed its own on which to base the intervention. Research into critical thinking skills focuses on older adolescents and young people, and therefore assessing 12-13 year olds, as in this research, is infrequent. Quantitative and qualitative data was collected using a quasi-experimental format. Data for pupils’ attainment and critical thinking scores were collected both pre- and post-intervention, and this was analysed alongside perceptions of inquiry-based teaching stated in pupil and teacher focus groups. The intervention was a three-topic scheme of work taught to half of the cohort with the other half being taught the same content but using their teachers’ normal approach. The intervention was written by the researcher and was based on research into the strategies termed inquiry-based following the literature review. It was found that there were no gains in attainment for pupils being taught using the intervention rather than the normal style of teaching compared to the control group. Gains in critical thinking were found in the treatment group but were not significant, and therefore, it was concluded the inquiry-based teaching did not have a positive effect on either pupils’ understanding of science or their critical thinking skills. Pupils’ perceptions highlighted that they did not enjoy the group work, open-ended nature of inquiry-based learning, and missed the structure of creating a set of notes. Teachers believed that pupils’ critical thinking skills would improve using inquiry-based techniques, but that pupils required more training in the skills needed to make this type of learning successful for this to take place.

Item Type: Thesis (MA by research)
Academic Units: The University of York > Department of Education (York)
Depositing User: Miss Emma Jane Atkinson
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2017 10:42
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 10:42
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/17276

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