Effect of Professional Development On Chemistry Teachers’ Understanding And Practice of Inquiry-Based Instruction in Kampala, Uganda

Fredrick Ssempala, Joanna O. Masingila I


Our purpose in this exploratory multi-case qualitative study was to explore the effect of a Professional Development (PD) workshop on Inquiry and Nature of Science (NOS) on chemistry teachers’ understanding and practice of Inquiry-Based Instruction (IBI) in Kampala city public schools in Uganda. We used a purposive sampling procedure to identify two schools of similar standards from which we selected eight willing chemistry teachers (four from each school) to participate in the study. Half of the teachers (active group) attended the PD workshop on inquiry and NOS for six days, while the control group did not. We collected qualitative data through semi-structured interviews, classroom observation, and document analysis. We analyzed these data by grounded theory using an interactive, open coding approach. We established that all the participating chemistry teachers had insufficient understanding of IBI at the beginning of the study. Teachers from the active group improved their understanding and practice of IBI after attending the PD workshop. Based on the above findings, we conclude that the explicit reflective PD workshop on inquiry and NOS that we conducted after listening to the in-service science teachers’ concerns and challenges over time within the school context improved their understanding and practice of IBI and helped them to drop some of the common myths about IBI. Hence, there an urgent need for science educators to design PD programs that help teachers to reconstruct/refine both their teaching philosophy and practice and the current SESEMAT in-service training needs to address context-specific problems/challenges teachers face in Uganda, instead of just adopting the Japanese model they are currently using

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