Best Teaching Practices … instructional approaches and strategies for teaching and learning in todays classrooms, creating a differentiated learning environment http://www.centralischool.ca/~bestpractice/index.html
What is Inquiry Learning?• Inquiry learning provides students with opportunities to build knowledge, abilities, and inquiring habits of mind that lead to deeper understanding of their world and human experience.The inquiry process focuses on the development of compelling questions, formulated by teachers and students, to motivate and guide inquiries into topics, problems, and issues related to curriculum content and outcomes. Ministry of Learning - Saskatchewan
What is Inquiry Learning?• It is a philosophical approach to teaching and learning, grounded in constructivist research and methods, which engages students in investigations that lead to disciplinary and transdisciplinary understanding.• Inquiry builds on students’ inherent sense of curiosity and wonder, drawing on their diverse backgrounds, interests, and experiences and encourages active participation and collaborative learning. Ministry of Learning - Saskatchewan
Why Use the Inquiry Method?• Students learn how to learn.• Encourages higher level skills (observation, reasoning, analyzing, critical thinking).• Creative thinking and curiosity is stimulated.• Student motivation and self-esteem increases with the control over their learning.• Learning becomes fun.
Benefits for Student Learning• Leads to deeper understanding rather than passively receiving knowledge• Allows students to become active learners• Introduces different perspectives and conflicting ideas that will challenge thinking• Allows for knowledge and skills to be applied• Encourages students to take ownership for their learning (Adapted from Kuhlthau & Todd, 2008, p. 1)
Food For Thought …• What topics might students be curious about, and how can these topics be connected to the students’ learning of any subject area?
How the Inquiry Classroom DiffersTraditional Classroom Inquiry Classroom• Teachers give out information • Teachers facilitate and guide students to understand how to• Student goals are to master get and make sense of the content. Memorizing facts and mass of data information is a very important skill • Student goals are to use and learn content as a means to• Lessons are organized for develop information processing whole-class approach and problem solving skills• Information is limited to what is • Mini-lessons focus on small available in the classroom or group instruction the school • Technology is used to connect• Technology focus is on learning students with local and world about computers rather than its communities application • Assessment includes a variety• Assessment focus is on the of strategies to identify students importance of "one right ability to to utilize thinking skills answer" on a test and mastery of content
Levels of Inquiry• Controlled. In a controlled inquiry, the teacher chooses the topic and identifies materials that students will use to address their questions. Students are often involved with specific exercises and activities to meet particular learning outcomes such as retelling stories, evaluating sources, or comparing approaches. Students often have a specific product such as a Venn diagram, paragraph, or poster.• Guided. In a guided inquiry, student have more flexibility in their resources and activities however they are expected to create a prescribed final product such as a report or presentation.• Modeled. In a modeled inquiry, students act as apprentice classroom teacher. The student has flexibility in terms of topic selection, process, and product. The educators and students work side-by-side engaging in meaningful work.• Free. In a free inquiry, students work independently. They explore meaningful questions, examine multiple perspectives, draw conclusions, and choose their own approach for presenting their learning.
The Importance of Questioning• It is not only important to be able to “do”, but to think about the “why” and the “how” and the “what”.• When we ask good questions, we invite our students to think, to understand, and to share a journey with their classmates and teachers alike.• Students are no longer passive receivers of information when asked questions that challenge their understandings and convictions about mathematics. They become active and engaged in the construction of their own mathematical understanding and knowledge. (Schuster & Canavan Anderson, 2005, p. 1)• http://www.fno.org/nov97/toolkit.html
“…questions stimulate thought,provoke inquiry, and spark morequestions—not just pat answers. . . .The best questions point to andhighlight the big ideas.” Wiggins & McTighe, 2005
• Instead of giving the information to the students, is there a way of teaching them a concept by leading them to the answer on their own?• Example – square root sign The meaning, purpose, and computation of square roots are learnings that should be discovered through the students’ investigation of patterns, relationships, abstractions, and generalizations. Opportunities must be provided for students to explain, apply, and transfer understanding to new situations.
Planning For Inquiry Learning• Invite questions about the topic or unit.• Teacher-Initiated Guided Inquiry• Student Exploration• Student-Initiated Open Exploration• Inquiry Resolution• Assessment
Instructional Strategies Practical Suggestions for Inquiry-Based Learning
Inquiry Learning Strategies• Interviewing • Online projects• Using time lines • Project-based learning• Writing letters • Cooperative learning• Creating surveys• Constructing graphs• Reading informational materials• Simulations and role play
Online Problem SolvingProjects• http://www.centralischool.ca/~bestpractice/online/pro• Geo-Game - Designed for middle - upper elementary students, this project was created by Tom Clauset of North Carolina to "lure students to reference books and maps and get them to practice their geography skills in a real- life context." Participating classes provide clues about their school through latitude, time zone, population, direction from capital city, etc. Students then try to solve the mystery locations using a variety of reference materials.
• Parallel Problem Solving - similar problems are studied by students in different locations who then share and compare problem solving methods and solutions. Example: A Day in the Life of an Ice Cube
Exploration Stations• Students explore materials in a basket or tub. They record their observations and wonderings through writing and sketching. It is followed by a class sharing time.• Classroom centres allow smaller groups of students to work cooperatively.
Project Based Learning• http://www.centralischool.ca/~bestpractice/project/ex• Creating a virtual tour
Field Studies• Whole class engagements could be field studies such as observing birds at a feeding station, noting traffic patterns, planting a garden, sketching the layout of their bedrooms.• Math or Science Walk in the community
Demonstrations• Demonstrations are fun, interactive visual presentations modeled by either a teacher or a student.• They are used help to introduce or present new concepts or topics, show students how to perform tasks, how to use equipment, or how to approach an assignment or project.• They not only set the standards for assignment or project expectations, but they also help breakdown the skill into easy steps or stages.• To be an effective demonstrator, the teacher must be open to step into an enthusiastic, inspiring role. Playing the part of the mad scientist, or introducing Greek Mythology as the Greek God Zeus are just two examples of interactive demonstrations. The way that you choose to demonstrate will ultimately affect the outcome of the learning!
Promote Lifelong Learning You can develop lifelong learning traits: By showing curiosity about human nature and how the world works. By seeking and valuing diversity. By persisting in seeking out new solutions. By using your unique talents and intelligence to promote positive change. By learning and applying technology tools to solve problems.