|M.Sc Student||Miedzinski David|
|Subject||Perceptions and Self-Efficacy of Physic Teachers who|
Mentor Inquiry-Based Projects
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisors||Dr. Orit Herscovitz|
|Professor Yehudit Dori|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
This study examines a training workshop for high school physics teachers who guide their honor students in the classroom and the laboratory on how to perform inquiry projects. The inquiry projects are carried out with the guidance of teachers-mentors and of academics experts in the field of physics. These teachers-mentors meet once a week in a physics lab in one of four schools participating in the project. The workshop is unique in the aspects of peer learning and is based on partnership among the Jewish and Arab sectors.
The study objectives were to identify the characteristics of the workshop, to examine the teachers-mentors perceptions regarding their efficacy to guide an inquiry project and to study their conceptions concerning inquiry learning and the mentors’ role. The participants were 19 teachers-mentors, two leading mentors of the workshop and an academic advisor. Data included interviews, observations, and a questionnaire that focused on the teachers-mentors self-efficacy in relation to research skills in the preliminary inquiry stage, in the inquiry implementation stage, and in the summative stage.
The findings indicate that participation in the workshop enables enrichment of the teachers' scientific knowledge, peer-learning, and provide a pedagogical and professional support. In the preliminary inquiry stage, raising hypothesis was perceived as having the highest self-efficacy score. However, the selection of an inquiry subject received the lowest self-efficacy score. At the inquiry stage, the teacher's-mentor's self-efficacy was highest when it came to collecting and processing data, performing inquiry, and problem solving. The summative stage turned out to be a phase in which the teacher's-mentor's self-efficacy was the lowest in relation to the three stages of inquiry.
The interviews and questionnaires analysis showed that the teachers-mentors considered inquiry as a learning process, which focuses on open-ended questions, and where the teacher acts as a mentor. It seems that the workshop is used as a platform in which physics teachers are being contributed in the aspects of content knowledge in physics and can acquire a meaningful support in the area of inquiry projects mentoring.
This study adds to our understanding of the significance of the structure and the function of workshops for science teachers and to our understanding of the impact that self-efficacy has on teachers’ performances. The study may help in developing training programs and workshops for science teachers and can assists in providing tools for developing inquiry skills among physics teachers and hopefully, their students.