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‘Science isn’t my favourite subject’ : pupil opinion in the professional learning of science teachers

Blake, Allan and Mcnally, James and Smith, Colin and Gray, Peter (2013) ‘Science isn’t my favourite subject’ : pupil opinion in the professional learning of science teachers. In: Inquiry in science education and science teacher education. Akademika Publishing, Trondheim, 189 - 213. ISBN 9788251929332

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The S-TEAM Project has found that inquiry-based science teaching is welcomed by the science teaching community, but that there are constraints on its effectiveness. For example, though many teachers do support inquiry based activity, existing teacher professional development systems across Europe tend not to provide the skills or confidence that this more innovative practice requires, nor the space for related self-reflection or evaluation. This chapter describes the development of the Science Classroom Environment Pupil Satisfaction & Achievement Instrument (scepsati). Based on research which reveals that becoming a teacher is an affective transition in which relationships with pupils are crucial – in which there is little mention by new teachers of pupils’ achievement or performance in tests, but more discussion about getting to know and interacting with them in fairly fundamental and productive ways – the chapter explores the use of pupil opinion as a formative instrument for professional learning. Providing evidence for a correlation between positive emotional engagement and more open ended thinking, the discussion will further conceptualise the ‘added value’ in the advanced methods that S-TEAM seeks to promote, to thus exemplify inquiry more clearly as a metacognitive goal of teaching and learning in the science classroom.