The TPD programme is composed of four face-to-face (f2f) workshops in the first semester and a series of tasks which participants carry out during school placements in the second and third semesters (including the design of SSIBL activities). The ‘big challenges’ of the 21st century are explored. Participants engage in reflective analysis on successes and challenges of teaching through SSIBL with respect to their personal, on-going development as a beginning teacher.
The f2f workshops use interactive learning tasks which promote skills and understanding of the main strategies for designing and teaching SSIBL: raising authentic questions, enaction through carrying out appropriate research and planning for, and where possible taking action as a result of the inquiry. The workshops draw on contemporary issues in which science and technology play a part, and focus on supporting PSTs in identifying both formal and informal opportunities for teaching and learning through SSIBL.In the second and third semesters, PSTs design and teach SSIBL activities alongside experiences science teacher-mentors in their placement (practicum) schools. Subsequently, the focus becomes reflection-on-action and outcomes related to students’ learning about impacts of scientific and technological development on society. The workshops are supported by lesson plans, a presentation and stimulus materials which are all available in the Resources area.
The TPD programme addresses 11 main objectives as following: to
O1. recognise and reflect upon experienced science teachers’ perceptions of the nature of, opportunities for and challenges of learning through practical inquiry, SSI and SSIBL in the lower secondary school curriculum;
O2. foster open, questioning learning environments in school science, in order to promote students’ curiosity and imaginative thinking;
O3. foster collaborative learning;
O4. identify the main educational ideas underpinning SSIBL, in comparison with learning through SSI or IBSE, including citizenship and responsible research;
O5. design SSIBL activities, including assessment for learning strategies, drawing both on existing and novel SSI and inquiry scenarios/contexts;
O6. recognise and implement opportunities for teaching school students aspects of citizenship in SSIBL;
O7. foster responsible and valid research approaches in the science classroom;
O8. implement SSIBL activities in science classrooms in school placements;
O9. evaluate and reflect upon the learning outcomes for students in SSIBL activities, and PSTs’ own progress with using SSIBL to promote student’s progress;
O10. share and reflectively evaluate resources with peers on an online platform;O11. critically reflect on and plan for own future TPD needs in teaching inquiry and SSIBL within the Working Scientifically element of the National Curriculum
As part of the TPD evaluation, we addressed the following questions:
Q1. To what extent does our TPD programme support teacher professional development in relation to the SSIBL model?
Q2. How do PSTs conceptualise and enact the design of SSIBL activities in their lower secondary classrooms?
Q3. What benefits, values and challenges do PSTs perceive and experience in designing and implementing SSIBL approaches in learning and teaching in their lower secondary classrooms?
Q4. What lessons can be learnt and conclusions drawn from the TPD experiences in relation to the SSIBL model?