Title

Effectiveness of the Scientific Inquiry Approach in Teaching Natural Science to First-Year College Students in a Philippine University

Date of Degree

5-2005

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Program

Education

Advisor

Patricia A. Watkins

Advisor

Richard A. Gray

Advisor

Joseph W. Eyles

Advisor

Alakananda R. Chaudhuri

Abstract

Student-centered approaches to learning are aligned with the Constructivist Model and have been the focus of much recent science education research in the United States. It is based on the premise that students learn better when they are actively engaged and given the opportunity to construct their own knowledge. In addition, the search continues for effective science curricular and pedagogical approaches that will provide adequate understanding of the nature of science and development of positive attitudes. This study investigated the effectiveness of the scientific inquiry approach, which is a student-centered style of teaching, in improving students’ attitudes and understanding of the nature of science. The scientific inquiry approach was used in the teaching of Natural Science in a Philippine university. Pre- and post- surveys on attitude and views about science were administered to 767 first year college students enrolled in the course. The results of the surveys revealed significant differences in both students’ views and their attitudes before and after instruction. The overall trend of respondents’ answers was changed from a mixed-folk (unscientific) direction to a mixed-expert (scientific) direction. Thus, the study concludes that the scientific inquiry style of teaching makes a significant impact in changing or improving students’ attitudes and understanding about the nature of science. This study also showed a positive correlation between students’ views and their attitudes toward science.

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