Teaching Philosophy

Dr. Dina Tsybulsky

Teaching biology through inquiry-based approach is my specialization, which is manifested in my educational worldview, as well as in my teaching methods. As I see it, the process of scientific inquiry is an integral part of studying science in general and biology in particular. As the philosophers of science noted about 50 years ago, science is primarily a process of examining ideas, asking questions, considering alternatives, and assessing evidence. In other words, the nature of science is research and, therefore, the study of science must reflect this fact. The inquiry-based learning enables students to experience and understand science and to develop scientific thinking skills and scientific practices.

In my teaching, I apply the following three major approaches.

  • Learning by inquiry, which includes active research in the laboratory or in the field, using either a structured or an open-ended inquiry as in bioresearch. This approach affords students the opportunity to construct scientific concepts using inductive, metacognitive, and reflective methods, while gaining first-hand experience in scientific practices.
  • Learning as inquiry, which includes analyzing historical research narratives during biology lessons, reading scientific articles adapted to the student level, and incorporating “invitations for inquiry.” This approach enables students not only to discover the process by which scientists conduct research and draw conclusions, but also to understand the way the body of scientific knowledge develops and new concepts and ideas are constructed. In addition, the approach exposes students to deliberations, discussions, the cycles of trial and error, and the interesting errors that regularly accompany any major scientific endeavor.
  • Project-based learning, which includes planning and conducting a science project. This approach encourages learners to actively engage in research, problem-solving, and decision making, and to perform complex and challenging scientific tasks. Using this approach develops students’ ability to pursue independent learning, for the purposes of acquisition, construction and distribution of scientific knowledge.

I have accumulated a great deal of teaching experience in various frameworks, including 11 years of teaching biology in the high school system. Furthermore, I have been advised a number of graduate students as well as senior teachers in the framework of professional development courses. Over the past six years, I have been teaching graduate-level academic courses at the Technion and Tel Aviv University, such as Inquiry-based Science Teaching, Paradigms in Science Education, Science Education in Digital Age. The courses that I have developed and taught deal with various aspects of inquiry-based teaching within formal, informal, and ICT-enhanced environments; trends in teaching biology-by-inquiry in the digital age; and project-based learning in biology classes. Students enrolled in these courses have the opportunity to experience various methods of inquiry-based teaching, which is complemented by processes of reflection and analysis. I believe that my teaching help to the future biology educators for applying inquiry-based methods in their teaching practices.