by Sanne Dekker & Inge van der Aa (Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands)
In February 2016, our Teacher Professional Development (TPD) program for primary school teachers started with a group of thirteen in-service teachers. The course consisted of five 2.5 hour-sessions spread out over ten weeks. During the course, the teachers were introduced to the PARRISE project, the SSIBL framework and the phases of inquiry-based learning.
All activities were centered around the theme ‘Thinking about DNA’. The teachers discussed different socio-scientific issues and controversies about DNA. By using concept cartoons, mindmaps and the activity ‘motional arguing’, teachers were acquainted with a variety of methods to map the different viewpoints of the stakeholders involved in the controversy. Also, teachers learned how to implement a 7-step model of inquiry-based learning to research socio-scientific issues. The evaluation of the course showed that the in-service teachers highly valued the different tools that they could use to develop their own SSIBL project in the classroom.
The participants particularly valued the SSIBL machine, which we consider one of the good practices of our course. Next plans included visiting the classrooms to see how the teachers implement the SSIBL framework in their practice.