Chemistry teachers’ perceptions in using inquirybased approach in ordinary secondary schools in iringa municipality

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University of Dar es Salaam,
The aim of the study was to explore chemistry teachers’ perceptions in using inquiry- based approach in Ordinary level secondary schools in Iringa Municipality. The study covered three objectives that intended to (i) explore chemistry teachers’ understanding of inquiry-based approach in teaching and learning chemistry in secondary schools (ii) examine chemistry teachers and students’ classroom practices that reflected use of inquiry-based approach and (iii) explore challenges faced by chemistry teachers in teaching using inquiry-based approach. The study employed qualitative research approach and a case study design. Six secondary schools selected for the study. A total of 68 participants were involved in the study where 6 were heads of schools, 6 academic masters/ mistresses, 8 chemistry teachers and 48 chemistry students (Form Three and Form Four). Data were collected using interviews, classroom observation, documentary review and focus group discussions. The findings of the study were analyzed using thematic analysis. Findings revealed the following: firstly, chemistry teachers understood the inquiry based approach as a process of students’ involvement in learning by doing and as a participatory method. Secondly, it was revealed that classroom practices demonstrated by both teachers and students which reflected use of inquiry-based approach involved carrying out scientific investigations and participating in discussions and presentations. Thirdly, it was found that several challenges hinders teaching and learning chemistry using inquiry-based approach including: lack of common understanding of inquiry based approach among chemistry teachers, insufficient laboratory and laboratory facilities, large number of students in chemistry classes and lack of regular in-service training for science teachers. Other challenges include low students’ motivation and commitment towards science subjects, shortage of chemistry teachers as well as insufficient time for conducting practical lessons. Basing on research findings the study concludes first, chemistry teachers differed in understanding of the meaning of inquiry based approach which reflected different interpretations and implementations in classrooms. Secondly, limited range of classroom activities were designed and prepared by chemistry teachers for students to learn by inquiry and therefore lower levels of guided and confirmation inquiry were implemented. The study recommends that in order to improve effective chemistry teaching and learning using inquiry-based approach, there should be ongoing provision of in-service training for science teachers by putting emphasis on school based in-service training to establish a platform for chemistry teachers to share knowledge and skills in their departments. In addition, heads of schools should encourage improvisation skills for chemistry teachers so as to create teaching and learning materials from the environment to compensate the inadequate learning resources for maximum students’ interaction and thus promoting students critical thinking skills.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF QD49.6.P76L88 )
Chemistry, Study and teaching (Secondary), Secondary schools, Iringa municipality, Tanzania
Luvanga, B (2017) Chemistry teachers’ perceptions in using inquirybased approach in ordinary secondary schools in iringa municipality, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam