Teacher’s role in General

The following is inspired by a “knowledge note” from Denmark regarding inquiry based learning in science



Inquiry based learning in sciences is a form of active learning where the starting point is based on questions, problems or scenarios. In this project, this approach is combined with that on an open school.

See also  About Open Science Schooling


The role of the teacher in Open Science Schooling (OSS) projects will be to support and guide the students rather than to be the communicator of academic material. It is therefore crucial that, with an eye on the students’ various prerequisites, the teacher stimulates the students to be active and reflective. This can be done through open and constructive dialogue.

The work with OSS aims to give students more autonomy and influence. But that does not mean that the teacher gets a less important role in the teaching. As a starting point the teacher must always take as a the students’ academic prerequisites and assess what can bring the students forward in their projects and their learning process, and assess how the teacher can scaffold the students’ work from their current point of view continuously.

Communication is an essential focal point in this approach to learning. It can be constructive dialogues, where we see four important elements the dialogues between teacher and students:


  1. To ask questions
    • Asking good questions can be the beginning of what is called exploratory conversations, where the teacher and students can wonder together and explore a topic through conversation
      • Opening questions, e.g. “what do you find out?”
      • Follow-up questions, e.g, “what do you think, it may be due to?”
      • In-depth questions, e.g. “why, how can you explain that? ”
      • Silence to give students space to reflect
      • Interpretive questions e.g. “there may be other explanations: How can it be related?”
  1. Having exploratory conversation
  2. To train the use of professional concepts
  3. To provide feedbacK
    Feedback can both be about guiding students to the next steps in their work process and picking up on how the students have solved the task. It is called formative, respectively and summative feedback.


What should the teacher do in general

When the teacher facilitates the students’ work, it is especially important that the teacher:

  • Examines the students’ academic and personal prerequisites and is based on this, when the teaching is adapted to the student group, so that all students can have an active, exploratory and reflective role in teaching
  • Draws threads between different concepts and subject areas to provide students an understanding of the field of science across topics and disciplines
  • Stimulates students’ reflection through a constructive dialogue based on open-ended questions, feedback, and a focus on training professional language and professional concepts


Short summary

  • The teacher must accept that he/she does not know everything in the field in which the students carry out their investigation.
  • The teacher should avoid correcting the student with answers, but make questions that will bring the students to think about/act towards a solution. The teacher must guide the student.
  • The teacher should provide opportunities for learning on demand.


Actually in this project we don’t teach. We are managing the students in order to discover knowledge themselves. […] The teacher should be transformed from the traditional role of the carrier of the knowledge to a knowledge manager.” Greek teacher.