Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research
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Connecting science and mathematics instruction in school through exploratory talk and inquiry

Lead Principal Investigator Dr Carol Murphy Co-Lead Principal Investigator Dr Abdullah Abu-Tineh Principal Investigators Associate Professor Nigel Calder & Dr Nasser Mansour

Project Dates: August 2016 - August 2019

Project Background

This research project is an international collaboration between Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education, University of Waikato, New Zealand the University of Exeter in England and the National Centre for Educational Development (NCED) at Qatar University.  Dr Murphy (far right) co-led the research team in gaining an award from the Qatar National Research Fund. The goal of the research project is to evaluate a professional development intervention that aims to strengthen science and mathematics instruction in schools through dialogic inquiry-based instruction. Dr Murphy is pictured with Naim Balasmeh, a professional development specialist in science from the (NCED) in Qatar who is part of the research team.

  • Instruction in science and mathematics often lacks practical experience and a reduced emphasis on critical thinking and inquiry-based activities. Such instruction can result in a perceived lack of relevance of the skills and knowledge of science and mathematics to student's immediate view of the world. In England studies have shown that pedagogical strategies based on exploratory talk can support students' collaboration, engagement and attainment in science and mathematics. Furthermore, in New Zealand, research has focused on the promotion of inquiry-based integrated curriculum and the use of digital technologies.

Project Aim

The aim of this project is to pteam with titlesresent a connected view of science and mathematics through a dialogic approach bringing two specific pedagogies together. Specific strategies based on explanatory talk and digital inquiry, or WebQuests are used to promote collaborative group work, critical thinking and a positive attitude to mathematics and science.  The focus of this project is on grades 4-8 as this reflects the period when interest in science and mathematics appears to decline.

Potential Impact

The results from this project will provide information on the development of innovative teaching practices through professional development, and to prepare teachers and students to make the best use of dialogue and inquiry in classrooms.

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Research Institute Scholarships

University of Waikato Research Institute scholarships: Applications are closed for 2015.