Inquiry pedagogies provide opportunities to meet learning outcomes linked to developing scientific literacy. Within a European project intended at promoting Inquiry Based Learning (IBL), this paper presents quantitative and qualitative data about teachers’ views of IBL and its enactment in England and Spain. Results show that teachers in both countries hold positive views based on benefits to students and science learning and perceive important systemic and personal barriers to the successful implementation, even after decades of political efforts. Teachers express frustration with the lack of time, teaching resources, classroom management and the demands of curriculum delivery, assessment and accountability. There is an emphasis on hands-on activities and students’ motivation but no stress on cognitive and epistemic aspects, showing views not well aligned with current understanding of the type of inquiry that best support learning. Implications for research and practice suggest that there is still a need to expand knowledge about how to support teachers in making the most of this pedagogy.
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