|Wednesday 23rd August Symposia Session II, 09:00 - 11:00
The EU-funded Maths and Science for Life (mascil) project, involving 18 partners from 13 countries, has developed materials aimed at supporting teachers across the phases of compulsory schooling in using inquiry-based learning (IBL) linked to authentic contexts from the ‘World of Work’. The materials are designed to be used flexibly as tools to help support the development of communities of practice, recognising the importance of collaborative networks and experiential learning as part of informing and sustaining practice. They include professional development (PD) Toolkits for pre- and in-service teachers and can be freely accessed through the Mascil website (http://www.mascil-project.eu).This symposium reports on research involving the use of various aspects of these PD materials, ranging from studies across all 13 countries to country-specific PD interventions. The joint paper from Germany and Norway examines the impact of Mascil PD courses and interventions across all 13 countries, drawing on pre-post studies and a multiple case study, as well as the use of a tool, ‘Problem of the Month’, designed to mediate teacher collaboration and communication through working together on inquiry-based tasks. The Spanish paper focuses on the challenges faced by beginning teachers in the design of inquiry-based classroom materials and the issues this presents for teacher PD more broadly. The Austrian paper analyses the kinds of questioning employed by teachers and teacher educators engaged in a PD course focused on developing guided inquiry approaches. Finally, the English paper reports on a case study of the use of the Mascil Toolkit with both pre- and in-service teachers within two contrasting contexts. Taken together, the papers indicate considerable potential for the PD materials to support practice in a variety of different contexts. They also highlight some of the continuing local and more systemic challenges of seeking to implement IBL approaches in science education.
Chairperson: Pete Sorensen, University of Nottingham, UK
Discussant: Andy Howes, University of Manchester, UK