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INQUIRE- inquiry-based teacher training for a sustainable future

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The future of science education

While teaching practices on inquiry-based science education methods are more effective than traditional practices, most European classrooms do not apply them. The INQUIRE project is working to overturn this reality, for the benefit of teachers and learners alike.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment

Funded under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the 'Inquiry-based teacher training for a sustainable future' (INQUIRE) project has been set up in support of science literacy. To achieve this broad goal, partners are planning and delivering one-year inquiry-based science education (IBSE) teacher training courses. These practice-based courses will be held at 14 botanic gardens and natural history museums in 11 European countries. INQUIRE selected the particular settings for their potential to act as catalysts, supporting teachers and educators to develop their proficiency in IBSE. The subject content focuses on biodiversity loss and climate change. The entire approach also aims to help teachers and educators reflect on themselves as practitioners, learning with and from each other. The overall aim is for the participants to develop a shared understanding of how IBSE can be facilitated in classrooms — and in botanic gardens and natural history museums. Partners developed a quality management plan within the first six months of the project to ensure the quality of the course design. Project work has since successfully seen the launch of 14 pilot courses in all partner countries. At the time of reporting, 181 teachers and 57 educators were actively taking part in INQUIRE courses. A major part of the project involves receiving feedback from the participants; this will be used to inform future course designs and modifications. The latter will be tested in the second project period. Findings to date are positive, with participants reporting that a shared understanding of IBSE has been developed. Also, a community of practice has been established and 11 advisory groups have been set up in the partner countries. INQUIRE is also working on a project-specific course manual offering support for teachers and educators participating in its courses, and a 'Train the trainers course manual' is due for publication. Outcomes of the project will contribute to a renewal of science pedagogy in Europe. INQUIRE's approach to professional development for teachers and educators as well as informal education training networks will also facilitate broader efforts geared towards meeting major challenges of the 21st century.

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