The Impact of a Field-Based, Inquiry-Focused Model of Instruction on Preservice Teachers’ Science Learning and Attitudes

Gwen Nugent, Gina Kunz, Richard Levy, David Harwood, Deborah Carlson


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a field-based, inquiry-focused
geoscience course designed to provide preservice teachers with opportunities for active,
hands-on scientific investigation and for gaining skills in inquiry pedagogy. Impact on
student learning and attitudes was measured through (a) dependent t-tests comparing preand
post-measures for students enrolled in the new field course (n = 12) and (b) analysis
of covariance comparisons between field course students and education students in the
traditional, classroom-based course (n = 12). Results showed that students in the field
course scored significantly higher than students in the traditional course on measures of
inquiry, confidence for teaching science courses, knowledge building, and cooperative
learning. There was no significant difference between the two instructional groups on
geoscience content knowledge, indicating that students in the two courses gained an
equivalent amount of knowledge. Additionally, although there was no difference in
students’ use of low-level questions, the field class scored significantly higher in highlevel
questioning. Results provide evidence of the promise of this approach in helping
preservice teachers develop the needed skills and content knowledge to create effective
and engaging science courses for their students.


Field-Based;Inquiry-Focused;Model;Science; Attitudes; Teachers; Education

Full Text: