När läroplan och tradition möts : Om lärarfortbildning och undersökande aktiviteters syfte inom den laborativa NO-undervisningen i grundskolans senare del

Sammanfattning: The Swedish curricula for compulsory school science emphasize laboratory inquiry-based science teaching (IBST) to develop pupils’ critical thinking. In contrast, several studies indicate that teachers within the Swedish teaching tradition almost solely emphasize laboratory work as a way to gain students understanding of traditional science content. In this thesis the aim is to investigate how this gap emerged in lower secondary science teaching and to investigate possible ways to bridge this gap between curricula and tradition. Two studies were carried out. In the first study, the aim was to explore how science teachers met the curricula’s expectations of involving pupils in IBST. The result is based on twelve teachers reflecting in groups about their own inquiry activities. Two strategies were identified. Hybridization (existing laboratory activities were transformed) and imitation (investigative inquiry as carried out on national tests was imitated). The way scientific practices are represented in such activities is probably limiting pupils’ potential for critical thinking in everyday life. In the second study, possibilities to bridge gaps between the laboratory tradition and IBST in curricula were explored within a teacher professional development program. Tensions between key ideas of laboratory work in Swedish teaching tradition and IBST, as discussed in international literature, were made explicit. It was then used as a point of departure to negotiate upon the purposes of involving students in laboratory work. The result was based on ten teachers divided in three groups. Eventually, two out of the three groups did explicit articulated awareness of different purposes linked to different types of laboratory activities. The third group showed limited awareness although they developed similar activities as the two other groups. This indicates that teaching tradition is an important variable when implementing new ideas and worthy taking into account and challenge. 

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