Project Science Inquiry: An Exploration of Elementary Teachers’ Beliefs and Perceptions about Science Teaching and Learning




Wilcox, Dawn Renee

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This dissertation examined elementary teachers' beliefs and perceptions of effective science instruction and documents how these teachers interpret and implement a model for Inquiry-Based (I-B) science in their classrooms. The study chronicles a group of teachers working in a large public school division and documents how these teachers interpret and implement reform-based science methods after participating in a professional development course on I-B science methods administered by the researcher. I-B science teaching and its implementation is discussed as an example of one potential method to address the current call for national education reform to meet the increasing needs of all students to achieve scientific literacy and the role of teachers in that effort. The conviction in science reform efforts is that all students are able to learn science and consequently must be given the crucial opportunities in the right environment that permits optimal science learning in our nation's schools. Following this group of teachers as they attempted to deliver I-B science teaching revealed challenges elementary science teachers face and the professional supports necessary for them to effectively meet science standards. This dissertation serves as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education at George Mason University.



Science, Inquiry, Elementary, Beliefs, Perceptions