Amidst calls to incorporate inquiry meaningfully into the practice of laboratory work in secondary school chemistry and calls to investigate how teachers negotiate their professional identities under widespread reforms in education, this study sought to explore the interface of teacher professional identity and how teachers facilitate inquiry for learners during practical activities. Utilising a social constructivist lens and a qualitative case study approach, the study focused on three inquiry actions; namely, question posing, experiment procedure design and articulation of solutions through a teacher identity lens. Data capture comprised a mix of semi-structured interviews, focus group interviews, observations, field notes and a research journal. Data was analysed utilising the content analysis method.
Findings were fourfold. First, teachers displayed four identity positions in Inquiry-based Laboratory work, which was interwoven with their professional training, personal school experiences, beliefs and attitudes and sense of agency. Second, teachers’ professional identity influenced how they engaged learners in question posing, experiment design procedure and giving solutions as inquiry actions. Third, teachers held strong beliefs in chemistry as a two-pronged subject and utilised laboratory work to consolidate and develop learner understanding of scientific concepts and theories. And fourth the manner in which teachers facilitated inquiry in the chemistry laboratory manifested as an interface between teacher professional identity and the principles of IBLW.