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Inquiry-based chemistry education: a systematic review

ABSTRACT The aim of this article is to examine research on inquiry-based chemistry education in primary and secondary schools to discuss how it is addressed in the research literature. A systematic review was conducted, including 102 articles published between 2000 and 2020. Through inductive analyses, the articles were categorised into four groups: (1) articles testing specific teaching approaches or models, (2) articles testing specific learning environments, (3) articles reporting on teachers and (4) additional relevant studies. Within each group, the articles were further categorised into five scientific domains (i.e. conceptual, epistemic, social, procedural and affective) and two categories: classroom practice and other. The experimental studies were also given a typology according to the quality of the methods applied. Overall, the research has been conducted with varied foci and it generally reports positive learning outcomes. However, the main emphasis is on the conceptual and affective domains, with fewer studies focusing on the epistemic domain. Finally, when it comes to methodology, the reviewed articles included many quantitative studies, often with few respondents and of varied quality. Thus, there is a need for more studies with larger numbers of participants, longer durations, more purposeful sampling and with focus on the epistemic and social domains.

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Metacognitively ALERT in science: literature synthesis of a hierarchical framework for metacognition and preliminary evidence of its viability

ABSTRACT The development of student metacognition has the potential to provide some of the greatest learning gains in science education, even outstripping the contribution of general intelligence. While models for metacognition are in broad agreement about their nature, they vary widely in essential elements and the relationships between them, especially between metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive skills. Recent systematic literature reviews have not untangled the concept of metacognition as they are not suited to crafting a synthesised conceptualisation for a controversial topic. This article, then, presents an integrative literature review of metacognition studies that draws together metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive skills into a hierarchical framework. The framework comprises, from the foundational level, metacognitive knowledge, called self-Aware of cognition, then various metacognitive skills; self-Monitor cognition, self-Evaluate cognition, self-Regulate cognition and self-Transfer cognition (AMERT). As a preliminary test of its viability, the AMERT framework is used to analyse interview data in which there was evidence of rich metacognitive thinking by students in the fourth, research-focused, year of a science degree. Rich epitomising statements were found in interviews for each level of the AMERT hierarchy, providing tentative evidence of its viability for understanding metacognitive processes when students learn in science.

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Inquiry-based science education in science teacher education: a systematic review

ABSTRACT Inquiry is central in science education and therefore also in pre-service teacher (PST) education. In this systematic review of 142 empirical articles, we examine research on inquiry-based science education (IBSE) in teacher education between 2000 and 2022. The aim is to investigate how and with what outcomes IBSE is used in PST education. The included articles were categorised according to whether the PSTs worked with inquiry in the role of learner or in the role of teacher and also according to the cognitive domains of inquiry (epistemic, procedural, conceptual, social, pedagogical, or affective). The review shows that IBSE is used for PSTs to learn science concepts and processes and how to teach science through inquiry; however, few studies highlight the transition between these. In terms of cognitive domains, the procedural, conceptual, pedagogical, and affective domains dominated, whereas fewer articles addressed the epistemic or social domains. Favourable outcomes of IBSE for science understanding, teaching competence and improved attitudes or self-efficacy were reported. Challenges were noted, for example with implementing IBSE in school placement after having learned about it in campus-based courses. Finally, we offer recommendations for fruitful ways of implementing IBSE in PST education and suggest areas for future research.

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Unpacking readiness for elementary science teaching: what preservice teachers bring and how that can be shaped through teacher education

ABSTRACT The work of elementary science teaching is challenging given the wide array of subject matter most teachers are expected to teach and a systematic de-prioritisation of science at these grades. In this literature review (63 papers; 2010–2020), we use a framework of readiness for science teaching. Using this framework allows us to illustrate foundational characteristics and abilities that preservice teachers may start with and develop as they become well-started beginners for elementary teaching in the face of systemic challenges. To this end, we identify what is known from the research literature about the strengths that preservice elementary teachers bring to this difficult work with regard to their characteristics and abilities in addition to the challenges they face, describing a foundation on which preservice teachers can build. We also highlight additional studies that show how teacher education can build on preservice teachers’ strengths and support them in areas that are challenging. We identify themes around novices’ identities, dispositions, emotions, beliefs, attitudes, self-efficacy, knowledge, engagement in and with science practices, lesson planning, and lesson enactment. Finally, we highlight four implications for science teacher educators, noting focal areas that may compensate for challenges preservice elementary teachers face while building on their strengths.

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A scoping review of interventions in primary science education

ABSTRACT Effective science education is crucial for developing a scientifically literate citizenry, and for many, foundational primary science education experiences play a significant role in defining their long-term science trajectories. However, primary science education has been limited by a dissonance between the poor science trajectories for generations of primary students and the positive findings often reported university research; a divide that teachers are primarily responsible for bridging. This paper presents a scoping review of primary science intervention literature from the past 20 years to both describe the research outputs and analyse the evidence for the effectiveness of different primary science teaching approaches. The search yielded 142 research outputs from 26 nations with data from as many as 36,021 students. The results showed an established field with robust research designs covering all science disciplines and primary school years. Effect size analyses showed that an array of student-centred interventions covaried with large to very large improvements in science content knowledge, skills and attitudes. With the effectiveness of many student-centred approaches established in primary science education, issues of feasibility and scalability should now become a central focus for all stakeholders. Limited coverage of K-2 science in the sample was a point of concern.

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Learners’ challenges in understanding and performing experiments: a systematic review of the literature

ABSTRACT In today’s world shaped by technology and the natural sciences, knowledge and skills related to experimentation are crucial, especially given growing public debates about science-related topics. Despite a strong emphasis on experimentation in science curricula worldwide, learners still encounter diverse challenges when experimenting. This paper provides a systematic review of empirical research on learners’ challenges during the following inquiry phases: stating research questions, generating hypotheses, planning and conducting an experiment, analysing data and drawing conclusions. A database search and an analysis of two prior narrative literature reviews identified 368 studies, of which 66 were used for further analyses after screening for eligibility using specific inclusion criteria. The analyses revealed 43 challenges at the conceptual, procedural and epistemic level that not only elementary but even university students face during experimentation. Additionally, cognitive biases and preconceptions are identified as a source of such challenges. Overall, the findings demonstrate a lack of in-depth research on stating research questions despite its importance for experimentation, whilst learners’ abilities in the other inquiry phases have been intensively investigated. The results offer valuable information for science education research and provide a basis for tailored scaffolding in the science classroom or the design of effective instructional interventions.

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Key features of teacher identity: a systematic meta-review study with special focus on teachers of science or science-related subjects

ABSTRACT Since 2010, a remarkable number of literature reviews on teacher identity has been published. These literature reviews address a wide range of different foci, e.g., school teachers’ identity, higher education teachers’ identity, or the identity of teachers teaching a specific subject such as science. So far, these literature reviews have not been systematically compared for similarities and differences to gain a deeper understanding of what key features characterise teachers’ identities in general and what key features are specific for the identity of teachers teaching science or science-related subjects. To address this research gap, we conducted a meta-review of 24 literature reviews on teacher identity, which we identified in ERIC and the Web of Science databases. From the 24 reviews we extracted 30 key features of teacher identity. In addition, several of these key features are notably prevalent in literature reviews addressing the identity of teachers teaching science or science-related subjects, while others are less prevalent. Above all, these results strongly indicate that the identity of science teachers significantly differs from the identity of teachers of other subjects or of generalist teachers. Implications of this finding for future research in science education are outlined at the end of this paper.

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