Effects of Science Inquiry-based Professional Development (IBPD) on Teachers’ Attitudes, Knowledge, and Practices in UAE

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Scholars and education reformers alike have reignited the importance of teaching science using the inquiry-based learning approach. However, the lack of knowledge and skills about this approach in addition to teachers’ practices of traditional approaches are reasons for not applying the IBL in practice during science lessons in UAE. Therefore the need for an inquiry-focused professional development program is crucial to prepare science teachers and to enrich their knowledge about IBL. Moreover, it will change their perceptions, attitudes and beliefs about the proper method used to teach science. This study examines the impact of five days of professional development (PD) on science teachers when teaching science using the inquiry-based learning approach (IBL). The five days of PD provides a comprehensive experience of inquiry-based science concepts and pedagogy. Thirty-nine science teachers from different phases (K to 12) participated in this study in one of the private schools in Dubai that follows the American curriculum. All participants attended the five days of PD and responded to 41 items in pre- and post-PD surveys addressing teachers’ perceptions of their confidence levels and their concerns and interests in implementing the IBL approach, in addition to their knowledge and practices in class. Several class observations and in-depth interviews were conducted to provide more accurate indications of teachers’ attitudes and practices. The major results of the study indicate that teachers’ attitudes, knowledge, and practices of IBL have improved after attending the inquiry-based learning professional development (IBPD) program. Interestingly, the study found that teachers from scientific backgrounds were more affected by the IBPD as they practice more inquiry when teaching science than their peers from non-scientific background; however, KG and elementary teachers have shown more positive attitudes towards IBL after the PD sessions than middle and high school teachers. The study revealed some challenges when implementing the IBL approach in science lessons, such as: limited resources, lack of time, teaching the students with academic difficulties, special needs, and language disability of ESL students.
professional development, science inquiry, United Arab Emirates (UAE), teachers’ attitudes, teaching science, inquiry-based learning, teaching practices, teachers’ knowledge, challenges of IBL