Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 835–850 | Cite as

The Departmental Script as an Ongoing Conversation into the Phronesis of Teaching Science as Inquiry

  • Wayne Melville
  • Todd Campbell
  • Xavier Fazio
  • Anthony Bartley


This article investigates the extent to which a science department script supports the teaching and learning of science as inquiry and how this script is translated into individual teachers’ classrooms. This study was completed at one school in Canada which, since 2000, has developed a departmental script supportive of teaching and learning of science as inquiry. Through a mixed-method strategy, multiple data sources were drawn together to inform a cohesive narrative about scripts, science departments, and individual classrooms. Results of the study reveal three important findings: (1) the departmental script is not an artefact, but instead is an ongoing conversation into the episteme, techne and phronesis of science teaching; (2) the consistently reformed teaching practices that were observed lead us to believe that a departmental script has the capacity to enhance the teaching of science as inquiry; and, (3) the existence of a departmental script does not mean that teaching will be ‘standardized’ in the bureaucratic sense of the word. Our findings indicate that a departmental script can be considered to concurrently operate as an epistemic script that is translated consistently across the classes, and a social script that was more open to interpretation within individual teachers’ classrooms.


Science departments Science as inquiry Scripts 



In this article, the definitions of episteme, techne and phronesis are derived from the work of Squires (1999): phronesis being seen as the ‘practical wisdom’ of teaching, episteme being broadly defined as disciplinary knowledge, and techne as the ‘craft’ or ‘art’ of teaching. In using these words, we acknowledge that there is no definitive agreement as to their meaning(s).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wayne Melville
    • 1
  • Todd Campbell
    • 2
  • Xavier Fazio
    • 3
  • Anthony Bartley
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationLakehead UniversityThunder BayCanada
  2. 2.School of Teacher Education and LeadershipUtah State UniversityLoganCanada
  3. 3.Brock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada

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