Afterwords on Inquiry-Based Education: Practicing What We Preach
We agreed on Friday morning that Inquiry-Based learning
- means “getting out of the fact box,”
- w/ a focus on process, relations, and “charm”
- if not starting w/, then getting to, AND keeping student interest
- with teachers as the "primers of the pumps."
We also went on to acknowledge the
- not about socialization, but about exploration;
- not about covering what others have agreed is important,
but about making your own map--
- AND collaborating with others to make a fuller one
than any of us could possibility construct alone;
- helping everyone both find their voice AND
- learning to ask questions and be skeptical about what that voice has to say.
Rosemary: practice what we preach...a summer institute that is inquiry based looks like a room where people are involved in inquiry-based explorations...students did need to be guided
Mary Ellen: My education background was mostly listening with very little questioning. I don't want to be that type of teacher....it's important to begin at some level in our own classroom setting...Questioning techniques would be modeled by the teacher...the teacher would capitalize on opportunities to encourage inquiry ... in various lessons.
Syreeta: As human beings, we need the opportunities to explore....This is how I see a classroom...there are chances to explore... I can...ask them what questions do you have and through their explorations, and my instruction, my goal is that those questions are answered.
Diane: with the Core Curriculum, it is getting harder& harder to implement inquiry learning. This symposium has encouraged me to re-try inquiry learning... I promise to give it a try!
Jacob: as teachers we don't always have freedom to teach how we want to teach. Last year I guided students in many of my classes to explore science by themselves- to inquire through hands-on exploration.... I still had to try as best as I could to make sure these students were meeting the science standards.
Ben: it is important to remember that teachers do have a lot of power...If we believe that inquiry is important, I think it is crucial that we incorporate it into the classroom. This is also a gradual process.... I still want my students to do well on standardized tests, but I don't think that desire necessitates buying into a system I don't believe in.
Victoria: Inquiry based learning...can be implemented, but only in moderation...I was very impressed with the undergraduate students, they have great insight and a bright future to follow!!!
Ian: I was glad to have Victoria’s voice heard in the discussion today, as I feel her perspective on this issue is an important one for us to recognize....It’s easy for me to tell Victoria to screw teaching for standardized test numbers, but that’s because my job isn’t on the line....I want to emphasize the importance of recognizing the different places from which we are all coming.... I ask that we consider what it means for someone in Wil’s position, a professor at Bryn Mawr who attended a “hippie school,” to be telling an inner city public school teacher that he/she has an obligation to preserve an important aspect of human nature (inquiry)....we must ask if the teacher’s obligation is to preserve creative and inquisitive minds, or to offer students their best chance to climb the social ladder...the problem of education as it relates to social organization/hierarchy is a very involved one...
Paul: Among the things that stick in my mind is Rita Stevens' story of a successfully persisting in adapting the "system" over many years to her own sense of what makes sense, and Syreeta Bennett's story of recognizing the need after one year in the classroom to fit the curriculum to her student's needs...I'm not...persuaded that "cultural" factors should be the dominant basis of deciding what educational methods to employ....I...would like to talk/think more about the notion that "inquiry education" might be not a luxury for the well off but a more effective and cost efficient way to empower everyone...a way to impact on existing socio-cultural inequities. Thanks to Victoria for being sure this issue was out in the open....
Or, if "doing science with a sense of place"--
attending to the place where we do science
(schools with limited resources,
a state with a strong standards-based curriculum)--
limits the science we do and the inquiry we engage in,
what can we do?
A Journal for Inquiry into the Subjective
Experience of School Life 4, 1 (Spring 2007)
Introducing Catherine Riihimaki, Post Doctoral Fellow in Geology @ Bryn Mawr,
who will lead us out of the social and back to nature...!(?)
into further awareness of the links between the social and the natural...?(!)