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17 October 2019 Inquiry-Based Teaching in the College Classroom: The Nontraditional Student
Daniel A. Kiernan, Christine Lotter
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Science departments in higher education have been adjusting their curricula to include more inquiry-based instruction, and research on inquiry-based teaching at the collegiate level has been increasing. However, more data are needed regarding the effectiveness of inquiry-based pedagogy in improving students' conceptual understanding and attitudes toward science. The investigation described here was focused on nontraditional students taking non-science-major science courses. The goal was to compare students' attitudes toward science before and after taking an inquiry-based or a traditional science course. The hypothesis that the inquiry-based course would significantly generate a more positive attitude toward science was supported. Nontraditional students' perceptions of an effective science curriculum were also explored. Students' perceptions were very positive regarding inquiry-based learning; however, those who had not been previously taught through inquiry-based methods had reserved perceptions of this teaching approach. Regardless of the course they were enrolled in, students agreed overall that an effective science curriculum includes three common themes: connection, interaction, and application.

© 2019 National Association of Biology Teachers. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Reprints and Permissions web page,
Daniel A. Kiernan and Christine Lotter "Inquiry-Based Teaching in the College Classroom: The Nontraditional Student," The American Biology Teacher 81(7), 479-484, (17 October 2019).
Published: 17 October 2019

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attitudes toward science
Inquiry-based teaching
nontraditional student
student perceptions
traditional teaching
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