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Study on the strategy to promote science literacy in Taiwan and the practices of inquiry based science teaching in the mixed ability class

Study on the strategy to promote science literacy in Taiwan and the practices of inquiry based science teaching in the mixed ability class

Ramli, Murni

2018 Taiwan Fellowship Scholar

Field of Study:

No:

Date:2019/12/12

Abstract:

Science literacy measured in PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) test has become a big issue in some countries, such as Indonesia, which performs in the very low rank. In the opposite, students with the same age in Taiwan have performed better or ranked on 4th among 65 countries. Why there is a big gap between students of both countries? Taiwan is one of the top countries on science literacy score of PISA 2015, a test to measure the ability of 15-years old students on science, mathematics and reading literacy. Students of Taiwan scored 532 in science or above the average score of OECD countries (493). With this achievement, science education in Taiwan is a good benchmark to some countries. Why Taiwanese students are able to achieve those high scores are might be traced from the structure of Taiwan science curriculum, and how the science classes are delivered by Taiwanese teachers at schools. As both countries are part of Asia, it might be assumed that Indonesia and Taiwan culturally have some similarities. We also can argue that as the Asian, students of both countries should have intellectual level relatively similar. Then, what actually are the reason of the big gap of science literacy level of students in the both countries? It might be argued that the quality of science teaching and learning practiced by science teachers since primary level in both countries is the main reason of the gap. Teaching a meaningful science, in which students are being nurtured through a series of inquiry-based activities to eventually have a high level of science literacy, depends on teacher's knowledge and abilities. Teachers' quality is fundamentally developed through a strong and qualified pre- service and in-service teacher training. How do Taiwan government support trainings for teachers' quality improvement, and how is the professionalism of teachers nurtured are the main queries of this research. Inquiry-based science teaching (IBST) is the issue emerges since years ago, prior to the PISA' literacy. It have already practiced by John Dewey in his school as the way to teach science contextually, and to train students with a sort of scientist activities, started from posing inquiry question regarding science phenomena, generating hypothesis, doing an investigation, collecting data, analysing the data, concluding and finally communicating the result. IBST becomes one of the approach of science education in almost all of the developed and developing countries. However, practicing IBST in the class is not an easy as defined. Prior research show that there are a lot of obstacles found by science teachers to applied IBST in their science class. The problem is not only caused by the lack of Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) skills of teachers, but the problem occurs because of the mixed abilities class of science, where students in one class are not streamed as one level of abilities, but diverse from low to high abilities. This research will focus on two main activities, 1) to study the strategy of Taiwan on promoting science/scientific literacy, and the policy of science teachers training. 2) to study how do science teachers in the mixed ability class handling the gap of abilities, and overcome with the great science literacy achievement of all students. The purposes of the research are: 1. To learn successful and failure stories from Taiwan in promoting science literacy and IBST strategies 2. To learn IBST practices at mixed-ability science classes at primary and secondary level 3. Combined developed-developing country learning process: While there are no guarantees that knowledge from developing country can effectively transfer to developed countries, combined developed-developing country learning process can potentially generate alternative solutions for various educational issues