Factors Influencing Chemistry Teachers’ Understanding And Practice Of Inquiry-Based Instruction In Kampala, Uganda

Fredrick Ssempala, Joanna O. Masingila


High school students in Uganda perform poorly in science subjects despite the Ugandan government’s efforts to train science teachers and build modern science laboratories in many public high schools. This has been blamed on teachers’ inability to teach science through Inquiry-Based Instruction (IBI) to motivate students to learn. However, there have been no empirical studies to establish the factors that influence science teachers’ understanding and practice of IBI in the country. Therefore, taking the case of Chemistry teachers in public schools in Kampala City, we undertook this study to explore the factors that teachers perceive to influence their understanding and practice of IBI. We collected qualitative data using semi-structured interviews, observation and document analysis. We analysed these data using an interactive open coding approach. We established that the main factors influencing teachers’ understanding and practice of IBI were their attitudes; their teaching experience; their motivation; availability of instructional materials; mode of assessment; class size; their pre-service and in-service training; peer support; and time constraints. We conclude that most of these factors are beyond the teachers’ control because they are systemic challenges that lie beyond the schools where the teachers were teaching. It is recommended that teacher educators and policymakers address the factors.

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