From “Cookbook” to Inquiry-Based Laboratory: Professional Development of Physics Teachers

Leading team

Prof. Bat Sheva Eylon, Dr. Esther Bagno

Postdocs and students

Zehorit Kapach, PhD Student


Lab instruction in over 95% of all Physics classes in Israel is based on the traditional cookbook approach. For serving the experiment roles closer to that in the practice of physics the teachers have to integrate Inquiry-Based (IB) approach into the laboratory environment. For this purpose, the teachers need to participate in a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program. In our project we designed, implemented and investigated the CPD program aiming at qualifying high school physics teachers to integrate IB lab activities into their traditional cookbook teaching approach. A database of IB lab activities was developed during the program. Some were developed by us and some by the participating teachers. All activities have been used in classrooms and modified according to the teachers needs.

The CPD was designed according to three principles, which were refined during the program: (1) teachers as active learners, (2) teachers as developers, and (3) teachers as “evidence-based” reflective practitioners.
Discourse analysis indicates that during the program the criteria used by teachers to describe their views and experiences changed. From initial narrow literal interpretations, to reflective descriptions about the role of inquiry in meaningful learning, and considering inquiry beyond the laboratory. We also found that the methods that were used in the CPD program have shaped the teachers’ enactment of the IB labs in their classes.

Since 2010, over than 200 Physics students per year have taken the IB lab matriculation exam, which was designed according to the IB approach.

Related articles

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