Tuesday, September 25, 2007

inquiry based learning thoughts

At first I was going to write an outline of IBL, just like we did in an assignment for UDL, but I figured it would just be too many postings about the same thing. Besides, not having internet at home was delaying my life.
So I just used Inspiration for my outline, and the blog will just contain my thoughts and the reply to the assigned question.

As I read the text I thought that both UDL and Inquiry-based learning seem great approaches, and also seem to take much more preparation on the teacher's side to make sure everything will work properly. i wonder how a teacher could possibly apply both approaches in the same classroom.

I actually wonder if inquiry-based learning is meant to be done on a 100% basis, or if it is just for a certain part of the day, or certain parts of the content of each discipline. It sounds like it is a lot of work, and time-consuming work, to be done all the time. Good-bye co-mingling.
What I liked the most about the teacher's role in this IBL is that the teacher asks many Why? How do you know? and What is the evidence? type of questions. I do believe that children in general, not only in school should learn to ask themselves these questions as dealing with any learning experience in life.

When I tutor my little brother I often ask him these type of questions, because I believe that that is what will make him successful both in school and in life, I believe asking those questions makes mastering the content easier, because you understand it and understand how to get to it. I guess that brings me back to the point of IBL.

I am trying to remember if this inquiry based learning as a student. I believe so, to a certain extent. Not in Science though. Science has always been, pretty much just paper and pen and formula memorization... Which as fun sometimes, because it was a lot like a mind game. Some other times it was just boring and confusing. Considering I haven't heard the interview on the website yet, I am not sure what is the span of inquiry based learning, and if what I remember is it or just something close to it.
I do remember though, that when I was in elementary school I had teachers who did not want us to memorize stuff, because "it is more important to understand than to memorize" they'd say. But in the end, I ended the term without knowing the facts. I specifically remember ending the year without knowing how to name the states in my country. I was quite upset about it. According to the text, IBL is not some sort of excuse not to accumulate knowledge, it just places the emphasis on the developing of investigative skills, but it also consider important to learn the facts.

Today I teach adults at a language learning center. Teaching adults to speak English is sometimes really tough, some times extremely rewarding, but it does include a lot of work trying to make your students see they CAN actually learn (teaching my boyfriend to speak Portuguese is not that different I guess). Our methodology is based on making everything as easy as possible, but I do try to make my classes as inquisitive as possible, because my goal is that my students will be able to function in a language-speaking setting, even when the words or structures used are unknown to them. I try to ask questions that leads them to realize how to find the meaning of things and not only how to get by for that specific lesson. For instance, when explaining the meaning of a certain line, I try to ask questions that lead them to think what caused that character to say that, go deep in that situation and talk about the matter being talked about in the story, not only learn that line. I think that has a lot to do with Inquiry-based learning.

Quoting the text "Ultimately, the importance of inquiry learning is that students learn how to continue learning. This is something they can take with them throughout life -- beyond parental help and security, beyond a textbook, beyond the time of a master teacher, beyond school -- to a time when they will often be alone in their learning." (http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/inquiry/index_sub2.html)

1 comment:

Elizabeth Langran said...

Thank you for this thoughtful post - I very much enjoyed reading it.

You are correct when you suspect that using Inquiry in the classroom is incredibly time-consuming, and so teachers will have to decide what approach works best in their classrooms, especially when there are high-stakes tests to consider. Some teachers and students who have experience with Inquiry are able to base an entire curriculum around it, but because it is so different from the traditional classroom it takes a while to adjust and may require more scaffolding at first.