Determinants of Use of Inquiry Based Instruction by Early Childhood Teachers’ in Teaching Science in Meru South Sub-County, Kenya
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Members of the society require science skills to cope with technologically-changing world. Despite this realization, the perfomance in science subjects is still below the required standards wordwide. The impetus to conduct this study stemmed from the fact that science education plays a significant role in the a child‟s development as it can bridge the gap in education achievement in science performance at higher levels of learning. The purpose of this study was to investigate the determinants of early childhood teachers‟ use of inquiry based instructional approaches in science activities. The main objectives of this study were to: establish the extent to which teachers used inquiry based instructional approaches in teaching science in early childhood development education, investigate the extent to which teachers‟ level of training influences use of inquiry based instructional approaches in teaching science in early childhood development education, determine the extent to which the type of training institution influences use of inquiry based instructional approaches in teaching science in early childhood development education and examine the extent to which teaching experience influences use of inquiry based instructional approaches in teaching science in early childhood development education. The target population for this study was 270 teachers. Eighteen teachers were purposively selected to take part in the study. The instruments for data collection were phenomenological interview and science lesson observation schedules. Interview questions were pretested on two teachers from Maara Sub County. Credibility of the study instruments was established through member check, prolonged engagement, persistent observation, peer debriefing, triangulation, multiple data sources and by comparing pretest results from the pilot study in two districts. The reliability of the study instruments was ensured by keeping accurate descriptions and interpretations of respondent experiences and corroboration of the data by participants at all stages of the research process. This study adopted in-depth phenomenological interviewing of participants for 30 minutes. The researcher randomly selected and observed three separate science lessons taught by each teacher in the study sample. Descriptive statistics including frequency counts and percentages were used to summarize and organize quantitative data while data elicited by interview questions and observation were analyzed qualitatively using content analysis. The responses were thematically discussed. The study found that there was limited use of inquiry-based instruction in science teaching. The result shows that the teacher‟s level of training, type of training institution and teaching experience had no significant influence on teachers‟ use of IBI. This study concluded that teachers were currently practicing inquiry-based instruction and that the level of training, experience and type of training institution did not significantly bring about differences in the use of inquiry-based instructional approaches. The recommendations from this study are that the Government should prioritize the allocation of instructional resources to promote the practice of inquiry-based learning. This study recommends training of teachers on the use of inquiry-based learning approaches in pre-primary schools.