Chemistry Teachers' Emerging Expertise in Inquiry Teaching: The Effect of a Professional Development Model on Beliefs and Practice

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This study investigates the beliefs and practices of seven high school chemistry teachers as a result of their participation in a year-long inquiry professional development (PD) project. An analysis of oral interviews, written reflections, and in-class observations were used to determine the extent to which the PD affected the teachers' beliefs and practice. The data indicated that the teachers developed more complete conceptions of classroom inquiry, valued a "phenomena first" approach to scientific investigations, and viewed inquiry approaches as helpful for facilitating improved student thinking. Analysis of classroom observations with the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol indicated that features of the PD were observed in the teachers' practice during the academic year follow-up. Implications for effective science teacher professional development models are discussed.