McDonald Butler Songer - Science Education 2008

Enacting classroom inquiry: Theorizing teachers' conceptions of science teaching
Science Education, Volume 92, Number 6 (November 2008), p. 973 - 993

Scott McDonald, Nancy Butler Songer

Translating written curricular materials into rich, complex, learning environments is an undertheorized area in science education. This study examines two critical cases of teachers enacting a technology-rich curriculum focused on the development of complex reasoning around biodiversity for fifth graders. Two elements emerged that significantly impact teacher enactment - their conceptions of authenticity (authentic learning/authentic science) and their view of science (descriptive/inferential). The results suggest that disentangling the common conflation of these two elements supports a broader definition of inquiry science teaching that is more sensitive to context and individual teacher enactment.