Inquiry science learning and teaching: A comparison between the conceptions and attitudes of pre-service elementary teachers in Hong Kong and the United States

Yeung Chung LEE, Carole Kwan-Ping LEE, Chung Man Irene LAM, Ping Wai KWOK, Wing Mui Winnie SO

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Abstract

International studies of science education, such as the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), have revealed considerable national disparities in students' achievements in science education. The results have prompted many nations to compare their science education systems and practices to those of others, to gain insights for improvement. Teacher training and professional development are key educational components that have not attracted as much attention as they deserve in international comparative studies. This study compares the conceptions and attitudes of pre-service elementary teachers (PSETs) in Hong Kong and the United States with respect to inquiry science learning and teaching at the beginning of the semester before the start of the science methods course. PSETs' conceptions and attitudes in the two countries were compared by means of a questionnaire with both Likert-type and open-ended questions. Quantitative data were analyzed using exploratory factor analysis and inferential statistics, while qualitative data were analyzed through the systematic categorization of PSETs' responses into broad themes and subthemes to reflect patterns in their conceptions of and attitudes toward inquiry science learning and teaching. The results revealed a complex interplay between PSETs' conceptions of and attitudes toward inquiry science learning and teaching. The results shed light on the effects of sociocultural contexts and have important implications for the design of science methods courses. Copyright © 2018 Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in Science Education
Early online dateJan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jan 2018

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Hong Kong
Teaching
teacher
science
learning
inferential statistics
mathematics studies
science studies
teacher training
education system
semester
factor analysis
education
questionnaire
trend
student

Citation

Lee, Y. C., Lee, C. K.-P., Lam, I. C.-M., Kwok, P. W., & So, W. W.-M. (2018). Inquiry science learning and teaching: A comparison between the conceptions and attitudes of pre-service elementary teachers in Hong Kong and the United States. Research in Science Education. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s11165-017-9687-2

Keywords

  • Inquiry science
  • Science methods course
  • Sociocultural context
  • Elementary teachers
  • Professional development