Exploring the negotiation of the meaning of laboratory work in a continuous professional development program for lower secondary teachers

Torodd Lunde, Shu-Nu Chang Rundgren, Michal Drechsler

Abstract


Abstract This study aimed to explore lower secondary teachers’ negotiation of the meaning of laboratory work in a continuous professional development program. A total of 15 in-service teachers were invited to participate in a professional development program in which explicit tensions between key ideas concerning laboratory work from the Swedish teaching tradition and inquiry-based science teaching as discussed in the international literature were highlighted and used to frame discussions and negotiations about the purpose of laboratory activities in schools. Audio recordings of two group reflections and a transcript of one focused group interview were used as sources of data for analysis. The teachers were divided into different groups, and there were significant differences between the ways in which certain groups addressed the negotiation process. The outcome of the negotiations depended on how the participating teachers challenged themselves and each other. Two groups reflected effectively on their awareness of the different objectives of laboratory work in science teaching and learning. However, the third group’s reflections were more limited, even though all three groups ultimately developed similar teaching activities at the end of the program. The implications of these results for inquiry-based science teaching and teachers’ professional development programs are discussed.


Keywords


laboratory work, inquiry-based science teaching, negotiation, continuous professional development

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