INQUIRY-BASEDLEARNINGFraser HeightsWednesday, August 29th, 2012
Tell me and I forgetShow me and I remember Involve me and I understand
A response:• l. Tell me, Ill forget..... hearing and listening are not one of the stronger senses in brain and nervous systems.• 2. Show me, Ill remember...seeing is one of the strongest senses in the central nervous system. [brain].• 3. Involve me, Ill understand...this would include all of the senses possible....skin, hearing, seeing, feeling, touching, smelling, taste and etc....also involvement means in most cases experiential learning. Which indeed means, Involve me, Ill understand.• These are the means to learning...this is what we as teachers should always have in mind. • Posted on teach-the-brain.org by Segarama (2006)
What’s the point?• According to the Alberta Ministry of Education document ―Focus on Inquiry‖ (2004) “Inquiry is the dynamic process of being open towonder and puzzlements and coming to know andunderstand the world”
So…Inquiry-Based Learning is a process where students areactively involved in the investigation of the world aroundthem by asking questions and formulating newunderstandings, meanings, and knowledge
Research suggests:• Can help students become more creative, positive, and independent (Kühne, 1995)• Develops the ability to think metacognitively • Edutopia.org: ―In essence, students must learn how to learn, while responding to endlessly changing technologies and social, economic, and global conditions.‖
• Research shows that such inquiry-based teaching is not so much about seeking the right answer but about developing inquiring minds, and it can yield significant benefits. For example, in the 1995 School Restructuring Study, conducted at the Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools by Fred Newmann and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, 2,128 students in twenty-three schools were found to have significantly higher achievement on challenging tasks when they were taught with inquiry-based teaching, showing that involvement leads to understanding. These practices were found to have a more significant impact on student performance than any other variable, including student background and prior achievement.• Similarly, studies also show the widespread benefits of cooperative learning, in which small teams of students use a variety of activities to more deeply understand a subject. Each member is responsible not only for learning what is taught but also for helping his or her teammates learn, so the group become a supportive learning environment. Hide***
How do we do it? Sharing Support (from teachers, Problem- parents and solving is Collaboration admin valued vision Building a Trust Culture of Inquiry Team-Teaching Resources and space Safe Classroom environment where Dont be questions are afraid to play and encouraged take risks!
Metacognition• ―Learning how to learn‖• Becoming aware of one’s own thinking processes and reflecting on it
What can this do for our kids?• Develop skills they will need all their lives• Learn to cope with problems that may not have clear solutions• Deal with changes and challenges to understandings• Shape their search for solutions, now and in the future • Alberta, 2004
So what is it exactly?• Authentic problems within the context of curriculum and/or community• Fosters curiosity• Data and info are actively used, interpreted, refined, digested and discussed• Collaboration• Teacher models behaviours of an inquirer (change role from instructor to lead-learner)• Students take ownership of their learning• Increased student-teacher interaction• EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!• Continuous reflection and sharing
The Inquiry Model is based on more than 30 years of research from around the world, with thousands of children,adolescentsand adults in a variety of inquiry settings, and holds true whetherthe inquirer is a six-year-old, a senior high school student, anundergraduate student at university, a lawyer, a teacher or aresearcher. Some of the key researchers interested in inquiry-based learning are featured in Chapter 13 of this document.Research shows that inquirers follow a general cognitive andaffective pattern. However, the inquiry process is not linearor lock step. It is highly individual, nonlinear, flexible andmore recursive than might be suggested in traditional modelsof the research process. Experienced inquirers tend to domore ―looping back‖ since they are comfortable with theprocess. Through reflecting on the process, all learners canbecome comfortable with the nonlinear, individual, flexibleand recursive nature of inquiry. Hide ***
Establish a common language• Use the language with your students• Post the Inquiry Model in your classroom• Go over the process with them and remind them what stage you are at during the process
Reflecting• Reflection is one of the most important aspects of inquiry- based learning • It is where the kids assess and learn to understand their thinking• E-Portfolios/portfolios/journals
Reflecting on the process is integral to all phases in the InquiryModel—Planning, Retrieving, Processing, Creating, Sharing andEvaluating—and includes both the affective and cognitive domainsassociated with metacognition.Inquirers should understand that the underlying purpose of inquiry-based learning projects is to develop their ―learning to learn‖ skills.Inquiry-based learning begins with the inquirers’ interest in or curiosityabout a topic. It is the puzzle that needs to be solved. At this phase ofthe inquiry process—the most important phase of the whole process—inquirers often experience a sense of optimism about the tasks ahead.Once students are interested in a broad topic or theme, they need to beinvolved in:• determining what questions will be investigated• how they might find the information they need about aparticular topic• how to present information to a particular audience• suggesting criteria for evaluating their research product andprocess.
How do I plan inquiry-based learning?• PLOs/Unit• Essential Questions and Enduring Understandings (inquiry question)• Summative Assessment• Formative Assessment• Reflection
―Focus on Inquiry‖ suggests…• For those students with little or no background knowledge of a topic, teachers must provide information and background that motivate students. Students need past experience and knowledge of a topic in order to do productive inquiry (Jonassen, 2000).
Try This…• Students can use a KWL chart during the planning stage to help develop questions What do I know? What I want to know What I Learned? (How do I know it?) (Why do I want to (How can I apply know? what I learned?)
During Planning:• Some questions to reflect on: • Why did I choose this question? • How will what I learn be of use to me later? • What were my feelings as I worked through this phase?
Retrieval• This is an important phase because it is where students should get excited about the topic • Can be overwhelming if there is too much information • Teacher needs to teach skills and strategies for selecting relevant information
Questions to ask during Retrieving:• Which resources are most useful?• Where did I find the most useful resources?• Will my focus topic still work?
Processing• Finding Focus• Teaching students how to compare, contrast and synthesize data helps them through the disorder that can occur in this phase
Questions to ask during Processing:• From which format do I most easily gather information?• How do I organize and sort my information?• What was most useful in helping me determine my focus?• What skill did I learn that will be most useful to me in later studies?
Creating• Students may need some guidance in how to narrow down or focus their creation as they can sometimes include too much information or ALL of the information they have found.
Questions to ask during Creating:• Why am I satisfied with my creation?• How well does my creation address my focus?• What other items can I consider to include or exclude from my creation?
Sharing• Is caring • Encourage constructive feedback and revision• Teacher and student feedback• Teach students the importance of knowing their audience• I would do a small group share first, give/get feedback, revise, then share with class • Gives more opportunity for positive, successful sharing experience
Questions to ask during Sharing:• What would I do differently in my next presentation?• What strategies did I use to get myself ready for the presentation?• What strategies did I use to get and maintain my audience’s attention that I can use again?
Evaluation• It’s a group thing – self, peer, teacher• Give verbal feedback throughout the process• Reflection, Reflection, Reflection • Students should be able to write about their experiences and feelings during each step in the process • They should be able to make connections with their new learnings and understandings and the larger community/activities outside of school
Questions to ask during Evaluation:• What was the highlight of this assignment and why?• What did I learn that I can transfer to other tasks?
What makes inquiry successful?• Inspire curiosity• Give choice• Promote personal interest• Metacognition• Life long learning• Makes learning relevant
• Diagnostic assessment is used to find out which inquiry skillsand strategies students know and can use, and then to build on thesestrengths during the inquiry. Areas of weakness and difficulty can betargeted for planned instruction during the inquiry activity. Diagnosticassessment also helps teachers recognize when individualized ordifferentiated instruction may be necessary for certain students in aclass.• Formative assessment is critical in the planning for inquiryactivities. Inquiry-based learning assessment focuses on the inquiryprocess to monitor student progress and learning. Ongoing, formativeassessment helps teachers to identify the development of students’skills and strategies and to monitor students’ planning, retrieving,processing and creating skills during the inquiry activity. This ongoingassessment allows teachers to modify instruction, adapt the inquiryactivity and support students with special instructional needs.• Summative assessment is carried out at the end of the inquiryactivity to provide information to students and parents about progressand achievement on the inquiry activity. This type of assessmenthelps the teacher and the students plan for further inquiries.Summative assessment assesses both the content and the process ofthe inquiry.
Assessment Should:• be part of an ongoing process rather than a set of isolatedevents• focus on both process and product• provide opportunities for students to revise their work in orderto set goals and improve their learning• provide a status report on how well students can demonstratelearner outcomes at that time• be developmentally appropriate, age-appropriate, gender-balanced and consider students’ cultural and special needs• include multiple sources of evidence (formal and informal)• provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what theyknow, understand and can do• involve students in identifying and/or creating criteria• communicate the criteria used to evaluate student work beforestudents begin tasks so they can plan for success• be communicated to students so that they understandexpectations related to learner outcomes (Alberta Learning, 2003, pp.7–8).
Assessment Should Help and EncourageStudents to: Be involved in establishing criteria Work together to Be responsible for for evaluating their learn and achieve their own learning products or outcomes performances Feel competent and Set goals for further successful improvements • (Alberta Learning, 2003, p. 8)
A Plan when encountering difficulties:Establishing Internal Standards (Alberta Education, 1990, p. 44) Studentscan be asked to identify particulars of things they have done well. They caninvite feedback from peers, parents and teachers, and integrate this informationinto their own standards. They can generate a “pat my own back” list in journalsor diaries. These can be reflected on after completing a task. Standards can becompared with others and raised as necessary. Students can be madeconscious of evaluating a standard to see if it is truly their own or one borrowedfrom a peer with little critical thought.Differentiating Between I Can’t and I Won’t Behaviours(Alberta Education, 1990, p. 44) Some students may express attitudes such asI can’t, I’m bored or this is too difficult, especially if they have not experiencedinquiry-based learning or previous success in inquiry learning. Such studentsneed support and guidance from teachers in order to view their situationsdifferently and to take ownership of their learning. Ownership has to move tothe learner to determine the difficulty, the problem or state of dissatisfactionand determine a plan to move forward. “I am having difficulty and I need toknow____and____ and to complete this task,” or “This activity would bemore exciting if I could also do___and___,” are more acceptable responses.Teachers and parents can be too quick to take responsibility for studentdifficulty and lack of interest, making students dependent on them for planningand monitoring tasks.
Who Has the Time?• More time is needed in the early stages for exploration, building content knowledge, and developing personal interpretation• Summative assessment builds from the formative – all formative assessment should contribute to the final inquiry project so that you are building as you goDon’t be afraid to overlap units and blend themes
An example in planning fromHum/Math/Science Pilothttps://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Au2N65zVAGy3dGFYT2lBb0JTTUR2dHowbVRzT0J4NVE#gid=0
Where to begin: Start with a Question and Enduring Understandings Identify a Final Project Create a Backwards Plan
• Biology• Cells• Reproduction• An open ended question that has many different answers and can be approached in several different ways – depending on curiosity and interest (Wilhelm, 2007)
I’m no mathematician…but here’s anexample• Topic: Algebra• Essential Question:How do people use algebraic concepts in everyday life? • This is a question of application. • It compels students to learn how algebra is put to work to solve real-world problems
An Example from CSS<iframe width="420" height="315"src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/9pyrhtVnwbk"frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
CSS Blog – Lots of Examples in ManySubjects!http://calgaryscienceschool.blogspot.ca/search/label/inquiry
ReferencesAlberta Ministry of Education. (2004). Focus on Inquiry.Wilhelm, Jeffery D. (2007). Engaging Readers and Writerswith Inquiry. New York: Scholasticwww.calgaryscienceschool.blogspot.comwww.edutopia.orghttp://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/inquiry/index.html