Current standards emphasize student engagement with inquiry practices. However, implementing inquiry instruction is a formidable challenge for teachers as they often lack models for using and adapting inquiry-based instructional materials. Teacher education programs can provide scaffolded contexts for developing teachers’ ability to critique, adapt, and design inquiry-based materials. We describe a qualitative study of 17 preservice teachers enrolled in two consecutive science methods courses. The study characterizes the development of preservice teachers’ ability to critique and revise instructional materials. Our findings suggest that teachers improved in their ability to critique lesson plans and to suggest revisions that would make them more inquiry oriented. In particular, the teachers’ critiques and revisions increased in sophistication after engaging in instructional design activities during the second methods course.
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Note that not all the subcategories were of different quality. Sometimes the subcategories merely represented different aspects that can be critiqued, for example, the Assessment category there were four sub-ideas (formative, individual accountability, written, and measures learning) that did not necessarily represent a less or more sophisticated critique.
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The research described herein was supported by a research fellowship from the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation. We also wish to thank Augusto Macalalag and the preservice teachers who participated in this study.
Show the interviewee the lesson plan. Have them read it through silently.
Once they are done ask:
What are the three things you feel are good about the lesson?
What are the three things you feel are problematic (chose the most problematic ones if there are more than three). Why are they problematic?
Is this lesson an inquiry lesson? Explain your answer.
Again, ask “anything else” before moving onto make sure all aspects of why this is or is not an inquiry lesson have been mentioned.
Suggest one or two changes that would make it more inquiry.
Make sure they explain why those changes will make it more inquiry.
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Duncan, R.G., Pilitsis, V. & Piegaro, M. Development of Preservice Teachers’ Ability to Critique and Adapt Inquiry-based Instructional Materials. J Sci Teacher Educ 21, 81–102 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10972-009-9153-8