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Title: Investigating Inquiry-based Learning Implementations for Enhancing Students’ Scientific Skills and their impact on TIMSS exams in Private Schools in UAE
Authors: El Tanahy, Marwa Hamdi
Keywords: inquiry-based learning
scientific skills
TIMSS exams
private schools
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue Date: Mar-2015
Publisher: The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Abstract: Inquiry-based learning (IBL) is an important teaching instructional approach that is supported by educational reforms globally and in the United Arab Emirates as it enhances students’ scientific skills and supports their abilities to improve their scores in the TIMSS exams. Science education is best taught by IBL instruction that is investigated through three dimensions in this study: inquiry, cognitive, and content. The main purpose of this study is to explain teachers’ perceptions of IBL and their practices that enhance students’ scientific skills. Moreover, these skills are measured in their five types: acquisitive, organizational, creative, communicative and manipulative skills as essentially required by the TIMSS exams. The study has three groups of participants comprising 50 teachers, 75 grade twelve chemistry students and two academic supervisors from two private schools in the UAE. Multiple tools were utilized in a mixed methods design to collect adequate data. Teachers’ perceptions were gathered by a questionnaire with close and open-ended items, their practices were observed through class visits, students’ perceptions were collected by a quantitative questionnaire, and finally, students’ achievements were analyzed qualitatively from schools’ official TIMSS results. The major results of the study indicated that teachers have good pedagogical knowledge about IBL, and have developed their practices but not at the same level of their knowledge. Results also indicated that students acquired adequate scientific skills but still may need more consistent practice to improve their scores in the TIMSS exam. Therefore, students showed interest in learning chemistry as a result of IBL activities. Interestingly, the study found that teachers who had attained master in education degrees as part of their professional development positively enhanced students’ skills.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations for Science Education (SE)

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