Identifying the challenges of teaching inquiry-based science in New Brunswick elementary schools

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University of New Brunswick


This study aimed to uncover the challenges New Brunswick elementary school teachers face when trying to implement inquiry-based science in their classrooms. Inquiry-based instruction has been used to improve student attitudes and understanding of the scientific process (Flick & Lederman, 2006; Gess-Newsome, 2002; Lederman, 1999). The Conference Board of Canada (2014) suggests students in New Brunswick trail the rest of Canadian students in science related testing (Conference Board of Canada, 2014). New Brunswick teachers were surveyed and then asked to complete in depth interviews to discuss their experiences with science education. The findings of this research suggest that surface level challenges such as lack of resources, time and education contribute to inadequate science instruction. Alternative perceptions of science and inquiry, and a lack of agency to improvement methods embodied a deeper set of challenges that participants were not always consciously aware of. Many recommendations have been presented to promote the use of using inquiry-based science instruction by elementary teachers in New Brunswick.