Gaps in teacher competencies linked to inquiry-based practical work in certain resource-constrained South African physical sciences classrooms

07 Jun 2021

Dwindling learner interest in science is a threat to economic development and scientific research. While the inquiry-based teaching and learning strategy in science education can contribute in countering this threat, the required teacher professional development efforts are not always linked to the actual pedagogical experiences and needs of participants. With this in mind, we focussed on the case of two resource-constrained South African schools. The purpose was to identify gaps in teacher competencies linked to the routine implementation of Inquiry-Based Practical Work in physical sciences classrooms. In this regard, we used a conceptual framework incorporating the Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework. This was coupled with a multi-method data collection technique and the inductive technique in thematic analysis. The results consist of gaps in Content Knowledge, Pedagogical Knowledge, Technological Knowledge, Technological Pedagogical Knowledge, and certain professional values. These results have significant implications in relation to evidencebased teacher professional development practice and research in the study context and possibly beyond.