Using Inquiry-Based Laboratory Instruction to Improve Critical Thinking and Scientific Process Skills among Preservice Elementary Teachers

1Department of Educational Sciences, Yogyakarta State University, Yogyakarta, INDONESIA.
2Muhammadiyah University of Ponorogo, INDONESIA.
3Yogyakarta State University, Yogyakarta, INDONESIA.
4Yogyakarta State University, Yogyakarta, INDONESIA.
DOI: 10.14689/ejer.2019.80.8


Purpose: Although critical thinking skills (CTS) and scientific process skills (SPS) are the beneficial skills needed in the 21st century learning, the fact is that the acquisition of these two skills is still low. Research with a focus on improving these skills by using inquiry-based approach is also limited. Therefore, this quasi-experimental study aimed to enhance preservice elementary teachers’ CTS and SPS by using Inquiry-Based Laboratory Instruction (IBLI).

Method: A pretest-posttest control group design was executed. A total of 43 students who attended Teaching Science in Elementary School-II Laboratory Course at the Muhammadiyah University of Ponorogo were divided into two groups using cluster random sampling. The experimental group (n=21) was taught by using IBLI, while the control group (n=22) was taught by using traditional laboratory method. The Oliver-Hoyo Rubric for Critical Thinking (OHRCT) and the Observation Checklist for SPS (OCSPS) were administered. The data were then analyzed by using normalized gain score and Mann- Whitney U test at significance level .05.

Findings: There was a significant difference in terms of CTS and SPS between control and experimental groups in favor of experimental group students. It was found out that gained CTS score of control and experimental group students was .58 and .80, while gained SPS score was .60 and .81, respectively. It can be highlighted that IBLI had a significant effect on preservice elementary teachers’ performance compared to the conventional group.

Implications for Research and Practice: The findings suggest that IBLI is considered as the effective method to foster CTS and SPS of preservice elementary teachers. According to results, it is recommended that preservice teachers need to be given opportunities to develop handson and minds-on experiences in the science laboratory activities. The lecturers should utilize IBLI to develop students’ various lifelong learning skills.

Keywords: Critical thinking skills, inquiry-based laboratory instruction, preservice elementary teachers, scientific process skills.