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Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 science inquiry high to very high (55.8%) and their level of science content knowledge as high to very high (87.8%). Further, the teachers identified the skills by teachers to be successful in the implementation of science inquiry as organization, time management, classroom management, knowledge of science concepts, patience, ability to let go of control, problem solving, and understanding of science inquiry. Other skills mentioned only once were how to extend materials, use of higher level thinking skills, building relationships with students, understanding of learning styles, and questioning techniques. The major challenges for implementation of science inquiry were time and resources. Other challenges were classroom management skills required for implementation, developing topics that fit inquiry based learning, linking the TEKS and scope/sequence, varying abilities of students, and proper use of science inquiry. A few other challenges given less frequently were lack of student cooperation, student dependency on the teacher, and lack of student motivation to think. Interviews Seven teachers were contacted for interviews. All teachers were further asked to expand on their definition of science inquiry. Five of the seven teachers had several similarities in their definitions. One of the teachers defined science inquiry as “students have the opportunity to explore concepts and questions with guidance, but little direct teaching from the teacher.” Another teacher offered that science inquiry is “looking into a topic with a scientific method approach.” Another definition given was, The process of inquiry not only enhances students’ understanding of natural phenomena, but also develops students’ science process skills. It is a nonlinear variation of the scientific method, composed of the same basic components, both the scientific method and the inquiry process requiring students to conduct research investigations by formulating a question, developing a hypothesis, conducting an experiment, recording data, analyzing data, and drawing conclusions. One teacher described science inquiry as “problem solving through the scientific process”. Another definition was “Allowing students to have a more active role in labs and activities by collection of data and developing the conclusions and reflections.” Finally, two teachers struggled with a clear definition and one said that “it was a type of program”, while another stated, “It is to discover science facts.” When the teachers were asked about the challenges for implementation of science inquiry, one of the teachers voiced, “Science inquiry was embraced by this district five years ago. Teachers attended training. Now, there is very little involvement and acceptance of science inquiry.” Time was a challenge noted by all teachers. One science teacher expressed, “I have limited time with each class”. The teachers identified that there was limited time to plan science inquiry lessons as well as there was limited time during the class period to conduct science inquiry. One teacher put it, “I try and use inquiry especially when we are beginning a new topic where the students have had little or no exposure. But the limiting time in a class period makes it difficult”.

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JTWSE—Volume 3  

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