Inquiry-based learning in science is the main pedagogy being promoted across all Europe (see Rocard Report ) even at primary level.
a) Discuss Inquiry-based learning in primary science, indicating its characteristics and its implications to pedagogy.
b)Present one activity which can be classified as an inquiry-based science activity. Discuss why your activity can be considered as inquiry (you can use the Pri-Sci-Net indicators for this part)
Throughout the years it has been stressed that certain ‘historic’ teaching methods must become eradicated. As times progress, we as educators must change our teaching styles to suite these times, One method that seems to be producing results and gaining popularity is ‘Inquiry Based Learning’. Although this method has been around for some time, it is still a relatively new concept for teachers and students, especially for its use in certain subjects, including the sciences. In fact, studies have shown that students do not want to pursue their studies in sciences due to the ‘boring lesson’ factor, (Crooks & Flockton, 2003; 2007; Murphy, Beggs & Russell, 2005). Thus, it is believed that through the use of inquiry, students interest in what they are learning would increase. Reducing negative perceptions towards subjects, when the problems truly lye in the method used to transmit information. Inquiry Based Learning Definition
“Inquiry is the dynamic process of being open to wonder and puzzlements and coming to know and understand the world” (Galileo Educational Network, 2004). Engaging students to think and reason through the inquiry based method of learning, has become one of the main focus revolving around educators, (Edwards, 1997; NSTA, 1998). Moreover, Inquiry-based learning is therefore defined as a process where students are actively involved in their individual learning, through logical and critical thinking. This is done by using a number of methods such as; posing and formulating questions, observing, examining various sources of information, discussing and investigating toughly. These in turn help students to formulate and develop their own solutions to various scientific quires. Characteristics of Inquiry Based Learning
Inquiry based learning can be characterised and identified through a number of different practices, that are unique for this particular teaching methodology. Due to the fact that through inquiry students become the main product driving their learning. Therefore, one definite characteristic would be that through using methods that engage the asking of questions such as; the process of observation and experimentation, students would then be able to narrow down the possibilities present in their investigation. Allowing them to be constantly engaged in the learning process and become active participants instead of passive listeners. Especially when they learn through trying to explain their theories to peers, (Duschel
(2007). While also focusing student inquiry on certain questions that are more challenging, debatable as well as difficult to solve. Another characteristic that is key to inquiry is that the educator is a facilitator of learning and not just an oracle that only transmits the correct information, with no possibility for his/her theories to be disputed, (Collier et al. 2013). The lessons which are merely made up of chalk and talk are not as effective in gaining student interest and participation, (Dobey & Schafer, 1984, Rodriquez, 1998). Rather, through inquiry the teachers role is acknowledged, as one of an overseer to identify where students are straying. To recognise which students need more motivation and assistance in getting to the desired outcome. One who drives the topics discussion through interest and ultimately provides students with the right tools in order to be able to come to the right conclusions on their own, as much as possible. Allowing students to be...
References: ‘Best Practices; 2nd Grade Inquiry Based Science’, July 31, 2010, video recording, MaST Community Charter School, Philadelphia, viewed 25th January 2013, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b133AGFclCY
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