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Science Conference Presenters' Images of Inquiry


"Inquiry-focused professional development and conceptions of inquiry held by eight professional development leaders were investigated within the context of a state science teacher conference. The prominent session format involved session leaders modeling classroom experiences. In all sessions, classroom inquiry was portrayed as a teacher-guided activity with the primary goal being to increase motivation for engaging students in classroom inquiry. The leaders' conceptualized inquiry primarily as a teaching approach with various goals, characteristics, and potential barriers. The findings of this study provide evidence of how inquiry, a prominent feature of science education reform, was portrayed in sessions at a conference sponsored by a state affiliate of the National Science Teachers Association and thought about by persons who led these sessions. The findings have implications for teacher learning from conference-based professional development and its potential influence on science teacher thinking and practice."