Research in Science Education

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 171–191 | Cite as

How to Support Primary Teachers’ Implementation of Inquiry: Teachers’ Reflections on Teaching Cooperative Inquiry-Based Science

  • Robyn M. GilliesEmail author
  • Kim Nichols


Many primary teachers face challenges in teaching inquiry science, often because they believe that they do not have the content knowledge or pedagogical skills to do so. This is a concern given the emphasis attached to teaching science through inquiry where students do not simply learn about science but also do science. This study reports on the reflections of nine grade 6 teachers who taught two cooperative, inquiry science units once a term for two consecutive school terms. The study focused on investigating their perceptions of teaching inquiry science as well as the processes they employed, including the benefits and challenges of this student-centred approach to teaching, with longer task structures that characterises inquiry learning. Although the teachers reflected positively on their experiences teaching the inquiry science units, they also expressed concerns about the challenges that arise when teaching through inquiry. Implications for teacher education are discussed.


Inquiry science Teachers’ reflections Cooperative learning Guided inquiry learning 


Statement of Ethical Approval

This study was approved by the relevant ethical clearance committee at our university, and a written informed consent was obtained by the participants who were interviewed in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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