The enhancement of pupils’ critical thinking within inquiry-based science education (IBSE)
Catherine Dimitriadou, Sofia Avgitidou, Giorgos Malandrakis, Petros Kariotoglou
Science offers pupils’ significant opportunities to invent some “higher rationale” to explain the world, thus promoting their critical thinking skills (Moon, 2008). For this reason, scientific skills closely related to critical thinking are given priority in the framework of inquiry-based science education (IBSE) (EC, 2007; Abd-El-Khalick et al., 2004). Taking into consideration the fundamental abilities of inquiry learning (NRC, 2000) and the characteristics of critical thinking (Scriven & Paul, 2007), this paper explores in-service teachers’ views and practices through a professional development project (ARISTEIA II) which promotes inquiry teaching approaches in all levels of compulsory education in Greece. Thirty four teachers were interviewed individually regarding their goals, teachers’ and pupils’ actions during science teaching and criteria/methods for assessment. Results indicate that although the IBSE supports active and self-regulated student learning, teachers’ selected actions and evaluation criteria/forms of their teaching do not seem to enhance in depth pupils’ critical thinking. This is due to a lack of consistency between teachers’ goals and their respective actions as well as teachers’ goals and evaluation criteria of learning, teachers’ lack of reference to specific ways to enhance their pupils’ critical thinking skills and the emphasis that teachers put on “rule –following” procedures to support their pupils’ learning.
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