Mark Enfield

bridging the natural world
and learning to teach about the natural world

Current Research:
Investigating text genres supporting inquiry science

A project funded by Elon University's Hultquist Award

This project extends pilot work (see manuscripts) investigating text use in elementary science teaching. Prior research shows how elementary teachers infrequently use informational texts resulting in students being unfamiliar with the genre. Research also shows how informational texts provide opportunities for teachers and students to engage in dialogic inquiry. The pilot study considered students’ discourse around informational and narrative texts and raised questions the role of text genres in supporting children’s learning scientific inquiry.

This project will empirically design and test instructional approaches using narrative and informational texts to engage children in inquiry science learning. The intended instructional approach will be congruent with the school curriculum and should face limited barriers to implementation. The goal is to understand more about how text use in elementary science learning supports students learning scientific inquiry. Additionally, the research will investigate the instructional approaches that support teachers and children using texts.

Data will be collected during Spring 2009. Analysis and findings will be reported subsequently.

Research Orientations of Undergraduate Students of Education

A project funded by Elon University's School of Education Dean's Office

This project is exploring early education students' ideas and orientations toward research as it relates to learning to teach and also as a role and responsibility of a teacher. The project is currently collecting data. These data will be analyzed during the coming academic year.