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Jones, Sally Ann
Science education programmes have gone through numerous shifts in emphasis over the last 150 years. Although from the beginning of the 20th century educationists had advocated that students engage in inquiry-based investigative activities, it was only in the second half of the century that education systems started to focus on science as inquiry to develop a deeper understanding of scientific concepts in their students. Today, the teaching of science as inquiry is considered crucial for nurturing the ability to think of creative solutions in an increasingly volatile and uncertain world. The primary school science curricula of Britain and Singapore aim to inculcate scientific thinking among students and develop skills necessary for scientific inquiry.
Textbooks are a repository of knowledge and highly influential in constructing a view of scientific reality for students. My comparative study of two textbooks, one each from the education systems of Singapore and Britain explores how science has been interpreted in them and whether inquiry-based learning has been facilitated. My research questions are (1) To what extent do two textbooks of the different education systems of Singapore and Britain present science as inquiry? (2) How do the two interpretations of science compare? (3) What are the likely reasons for the differences?
I examined the language and visual elements of the two textbooks. The data revealed that although features of inquiry- based learning have been stated explicitly in the science syllabi of both countries, the unit studied in the Singapore science textbook was found to present content directly with very limited scope for students to conduct scientific inquiry. While a variety of questions have been used to stimulate curiosity, development of inquiry process skills has not been much emphasised. The textbook is not strongly aligned with the curricular aims of developing skills for scientific inquiry. The British textbook was found to give importance to inquiry activities for the student to construct scientific knowledge inductively. The significance of the findings and the implications and the limitations of the study have also been addressed in the dissertation.
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checked on Jun 5, 2023
checked on Jun 5, 2023
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