Defensio von Sandra Puddu

Wir gratulieren Mag. Sandra Puddu sehr herzlich zur Defensio ihrer Dissertation 'Implementing Inquiry-based Learning in a Diverse Classroom' sowie zur Erlangung des akademischen Grades einer Doktorin der Naturwissenschaften.

Abstract der Dissertation

In order to participate actively in a modern world it is necessary to make decisions concerning scientific issues. Therefore, it is important to develop scientific skills and methods which have a solid foundation in science education standards and the curricula. Empirical research shows the potential of inquiry-based learning to foster these skills and methods as well as to meet the needs of diversity in the classroom. Inquiry-based learning is seen as a challenge, especially in classrooms with a high diversity, and therefore it is rarely implemented.

Professional development programs are needed to further the implementation of inquiry-based learning. Designing appropriate programs requires information about authentic classroom situations. The thesis at hand contributes to this by collecting data throughout the course of an explorative case study. A teacher was accompanied for one year while implementing inquiry-based learning in a class with a high diversity. The observations focused on scaffolding as well as on dealing with diversity. Additionally, data compiling students’ views of scientific inquiry were gathered.

Data from audio and video recordings, task sheets, lab reports as well as interviews and questionnaires were analyzed via qualitative content analysis and descriptive statistics. A thick description was made to paint a vivid picture of this highly diverse classroom and to answer the research questions. The teachers’ strategies for scaffolding while implementing inquiry-based learning in this classroom were illustrated. The views of scientific inquiry were discussed on both the class level and the individual level.

Finally, the methods for collecting data are discussed critically with regard to diversity. Furthermore, possibilities for being mindful of diversity when implementing inquiry-based learning are suggested. These findings can be used to develop materials for classes with a high diversity as well as for professional development programs which aim to sensitize and to support teachers.