Teachers as Educational Innovators in Inquiry-Based Science Teaching and Learning

  • Anni Loukomies
  • Kalle Juuti
  • Jari Lavonen
Part of the Contributions from Science Education Research book series (CFSE, volume 5)


This chapter describes inquiry-based science teaching and learning (IBST/L) pilots designed by teachers during a professional development programme. There is research-based evidence that IBSL/T may promote students’ learning and their motivation to learn science, and therefore it is beneficial to familiarise the teachers with this approach. Building on teachers’ existing expertise in designing their teaching, the programme introduced theoretical aspects of the IBST/L approach and its research-based benefits for students’ motivation, interest and science learning. The course aimed to support teachers as educational innovators in the process of designing and testing IBST/L pilots, during which they collaboratively reflected on and revised their existing practices. The data of this piece of research consists of the teachers’ poster presentations of their IBST/L pilots and a video recording of the reflection session. The content analysis revealed that the pilots’ structure seemed traditional but encompassed some IBST/L features. It is concluded that teacher educators need to understand teachers’ views of IBST/L in order to more effectively support planning and reflection.


Professional development Student motivation Inquiry-based science teaching and learning (IBST/L) Educational innovation Reflection 


  1. Andersson, R. D. (2007). Inquiry as an organizing theme for science curricula. In S. K. Abell & N. G. Lederman (Eds.), Handbook of research on science education (pp. 807–830). London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  2. Bybee, R. W. (2000). Teaching science as inquiry. In J. Minstrell & E. H. van Zee (Eds.), Inquiring into inquiry learning and teaching in science (pp. 20–46). Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.Google Scholar
  3. Donovan, M. S., Bransford, J. D., & Pellegrino, J. W. (1999). How people learn: Bridging research and practice. National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue NW, Lockbox 285, Washington DC, 2005.Google Scholar
  4. Eccles, J. (2005). Subjective task-value and the Eccles et al. model of achievement-related choices. In A. J. Elliot & C. S. Dweck (Eds.), Handbook of competence and motivation. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  5. Finnish National Board of Education (FNBE). (2014). Perusopetuksen opetussuunnitelman perusteluonnos. A draft of the national core curriculum for basic education. Helsinki, Finland: National Board of Education. Retrieved from [in Finnish]Google Scholar
  6. Guay, F., Ratelle, C., & Chanal, J. (2008). Optimal learning in optimal contexts: The role of self-determination in education. Canadian Psychology, 49(3), 233–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Jurow A. S., & McFadden, L. (2011). Disciplined lmprovisation to extend young children’s scientific thinking. ln Sawyer, R. K. (Ed.), Structure and improvisation in creative teaching (pp. 236–251). Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Juuti, K., Lavonen, J., Aksela, M., & Meisalo, V. (2009). Adoption of ICT in science education: A case study of communication channels in a teachers’ professional development project. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 5(2), 103–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kim, M., Lavonen, J., Juuti, K., Holbrook, J., & Rannikmäe, M. (2013). Teacher’s reflection of inquiry teaching in Finland before and during an in-service program: Examination by a progress model of collaborative reflection. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 11(2), 359–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Krzywacki, H., Lavonen, J., & Juuti, K. (2015). There are no effective teachers in Finland—Only effective systems and professional teachers. In O.-S. Tan & W.-C. Liu (Eds.), Teacher effectiveness: Capacity building in a complex learning era (pp. 79–103). Andoven, MN: Cengage Learning.Google Scholar
  11. Laursen, S., Liston, C., Thiry, H., & Graf, J. (2007). What good is a scientist in the classroom? Participant outcomes and program design features for a short-duration science outreach intervention in k-12 classrooms. Life Sciences Education, 6, 49–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lavonen, J., Juuti, K., Aksela, M., & Meisalo, V. (2006). A professional development project for improving the use of ICT in science teaching. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 15(2), 159–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lumpe, A. (2007). Research-based professional development: Teachers engaged in professional learning communities. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 18, 125–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mansvelder-Longayroux, D. D., Beijaard, D., & Verloop, N. (2007). The portfolio as a tool for stimulating reflection by student teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education, 23(1), 47–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Minner, D., Levy, A., & Century, J. (2010). Inquiry-based science instruction—What is it and does it matter? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47, 474–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Nelson, T. H. (2009). Teachers’ collaborative inquiry and professional growth: Should we be optimistic? Science Education, 93(3), 548–580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Niemiec, C. P., & Ryan, R. M. (2009). Autonomy, competence, and relatedness in the classroom. Theory and Research in Education, 7(2), 133–144.Google Scholar
  18. Norris, N., Asplund, R., MacDonald, B., Schostak, J., & Zamorski, B. (1996). An independent evaluation of comprehensive curriculum reform in Finland. Helsinki, Finland: National Board of Education.Google Scholar
  19. NRC. (2012). A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  20. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  21. Penuel, W. R., Fishman, B. J., Yamaguchi, R., & Gallagher, L. (2007). What makes professional development effective? Strategies that foster curriculum implementation. American Educational Research Journal, 44(4), 921–958.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Reeve, J., & Halusic, M. (2009). How K-12 teachers can put self-determination theory principles into practice. Theory and Research in Education, 7(2), 145–154.Google Scholar
  23. Rodgers, C. (2002). Defining reflection: Another look at John Dewey and reflective thinking. Teachers College Record, 104(4), 842–856.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2002). An overview of self-determination theory: An organismic-dialectical perspective. In E. L. Deci & R. M. Ryan (Eds.), Handbook of self-determination research (pp. 3–33). Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.Google Scholar
  25. Sawyer, K. (2004). Creative teaching: Collaborative discussion as disciplined improvisation. Educational Researcher, 33(2), 12–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sawyer, K. (2006). Educating for innovation. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 1, 41–48. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Taajamo, M., Puhakka, E., & Välijärvi, J. (2014). Opetuksen ja oppimisen kansainvälinen tutkimus TALIS 2013: Yläkoulun ensituloksia. Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriön julkaisuja.Google Scholar
  28. Tuominen-Soini, H. (2012). Student motivation and well-being: Achievement goal orientation profiles, temporal stability, and academic and socio-emotional outcomes. Doctoral dissertation University of Helsinki. Retrieved from
  29. Uhrich, T. A. (2009). The hierarchy of reflective practice in physical education. Reflective Practice, 10(4), 501–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Vasalampi, K., Salmela-Aro, K., & Nurmi, J.-E. (2009). Adolescents’ self-concordance, school engagement, and burnout predict their educational trajectories. European Psychologist, 14(4), 332–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Yeager, S. D. & Walton, G. M. (2011). Social-psychological interventions in education: They’re not magic. Review of Educational Research, 81, 267–301.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anni Loukomies
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kalle Juuti
    • 3
  • Jari Lavonen
    • 3
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Educational Sciences, Viikki Teacher Training SchoolUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Childhood EducationUniversity of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa
  3. 3.Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of EducationUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

Personalised recommendations