Teachers' Professional Development of IBL skills in science through PRIMAS project
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Inquiry-based learning (IBL) promotes student learning and the development of competencies like self-directed learning and exploring new knowledge areas. Unfortunately, many teachers lack experience in IBL and they need further support through, for instance, Professional Development courses (PD). The effect of PD on teachers' IBL beliefs and skills was observed by examining the potential change in teachers' beliefs and practices after their participation in PD for a year. Moreover, we examined the effective characteristics of PD in terms of content and organization. Interviews with teachers were carried out as well as observations of PD and classroom observations. The results indicate that when teachers participated in PD for a year, they became more willing and positive towards IBL and managed to change their teaching practices. The extent to which change occurred depended on previous experience working with IBL. The most effective characteristics of PD were Reflection, Collaborative working and Including content knowledge. This research highlights the importance of providing practical information to teachers during PD that could be of direct use in their lessons. We conclude that participation in PD can have beneficial effects on teachers' IBL skills.