Transforming pedagogy in mathematics and science in Qatar: a study of teacher and student perspectives
Calder, N and Murphy, C and Mansour, N and Abu-Tineh, A, Transforming pedagogy in mathematics and science in Qatar: a study of teacher and student perspectives, STEM education across the learning continuum: early childhood to senior secondary, Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd., MacDonald Amy, Danaia Lena, Murphy Steve (ed), Singapore, pp. 269-292. ISBN 978-981-15-2820-0 (2020) [Research Book Chapter]
Changes to teachers’ pedagogy are complex, and frequently characterised by tensions evoked through teachers’ experience and beliefs. As well, there can be entrenched cultural expectations. We are currently engaged in an international collaboration on a project, funded by the Qatar National Research Fund, to implement and evaluate Professional Development (PD) to promote Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) in mathematics and science. The rationale for the PD programme is underpinned by Fullan and Langworthy’s (A rich seam: how new pedagogies find deep learning. Pearson, London, UK, 2014) claims that new richer pedagogies can engage and motivate students, while more authentic ways of learning can be achieved through the use of digital technologies (Calder in Processing mathematics through digital technologies: the primary years. Sense Publishers, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2011), and through dialogic, collaborative group work (Mercer et al in Br Educ Res J 25(1):95–111, 1999). Eight Professional Development Specialists (PDS) in Qatar provide in-classroom support to sixteen teachers with grades 5–9 students. The PDSs have introduced WebQuests and Exploratory Talk as two practical manageable didactic strategies for the teachers. Data were collected from interviews with teachers and student focus groups, and from student questionnaires on attitudes to science and mathematics. Transforming teacher practice is not always straightforward. A key focus of the chapter is on the relationships between teachers’ beliefs and perceived tensions in adopting the IBL and on students’ perceived motivation and engagement. This chapter reports on teachers’ and students’ perceptions of the pre-PD data and situates this tentatively with the initial post-PD data. External influences and teachers and students’ own internally held expectations impacted the introduction of IBL.
Research Book Chapter
STEM education, inquiry-based learning, WebQuests, professional development