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When giving our presentation on the Inquiry Model to the class, our objectives were to define what the inquiry model is, inform the class about the importance of inquiry, identify the outcomes of inquiry, explain how it differs from other approaches, and explain the benefits. We felt like going over these aspects would give the class a clearer and better understanding of the topic.
Our opening statement was giving the class a clear-cut definition of what the Inquiry Model means. It contains many different things in the definition. A few of the things that we highlighted were that it “implies involvement that leads to understanding; you have to possess skills to seek resolutions to questions while acquiring new knowledge, it means seeking information through the form of questioning, and most importantly it’s a student-centered and teacher-guided instructional approach (thirteen ed online).” Some of the most important parts of inquiry-based learning are “generating new questions, asking questions, creating hypotheses, investigation, constructing new knowledge, reflecting on discoveries, and applying newly-acquired knowledge in your own life (inquiry learn).”
We then went on to discuss the background information and how all of this started. One of the key events that we shared was the Ten Rational Powers which occurred in 1961. “The Educational Policies Commission came up with “ten rational powers” that they felt were essential for students. The “ten rational powers” were recalling and imagining, classifying and generalizing, comparing and evaluating, analyzing and synthesizing, and deducing and inferring. Today these are distinguished as the basic fundamentals of inquiry-based learning (thirteen ed online).”
Reviewing the history of the Inquiry Model and going over how it originated spurred our group to then discuss the importance of using it as an individual. The major idea that we wanted the class to take away from this was that it’s far more important to actually understand the information than to just memorize facts about the information given. Sure in certain situations or courses this may not be the case, but in life in general this is definitely true. Memorizing things is not suggested because the most important thing is to comprehend something as a whole rather than little specific random facts. Another thing that we highlighted was that in order to learn at an efficient pace, seeking appropriate resolutions to questions is absolutely mandatory. For instance in a chemistry class, your assignment is to come up with a hypothesis for the current lab you’re doing.
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There are many benefits of Inquiry-based learning. A few of the ones that Cameron and I went over were that it teaches important skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and disciplinary content. In addition, Inquiry learning can and most likely will lead to important habits in the classroom. “Those students, who actively participate, gather and analyze their notes, and synthesize the information, are developing as human beings and students because they are using useful problem-solving skills (thirteen ed online).” These types of things that students start doing more often in the classroom will last a lifetime and will carry them a long way in life.
The Inquiry process has up to 15 key components. We felt like it was appropriate to pick what we felt like were the 7 most integral components relating to Inquiry-based learning. The 7 components that we chose were activating poor knowledge, providing background information, defining outcomes for which students will be held accountable, providing frameworks, establishing a general topic, define focus based questions within a topic, and establishing or communicating an inquiry presentation framework. “Activating prior knowledge is critical because there are so many things that you learn when you are in school. However, it’s up to the student to reflect on what they’ve learned in the past and somehow relating it to the new information that has been given. Personally connecting your past experiences make it easier for the student to process new information as there is more motivation for that individual to explore and even struggle at times (neiu.edu).” Defining outcomes for which students will be held accountable is arguably the most important component of Inquiry-based learning. Knowing what to expect from your teachers is probably the most important thing relating to how motivated students are and their own success as well. For example, if a teacher doesn’t set certain expectations for the class then it’s far more likely for the class as a whole to struggle because it’s difficult for them to gage how hard they should be working. On the other hand, if there is a teacher that sets clear and realistic goals/ expectations for the year very early on then the class is without a doubt set up to succeed. While all of these components are very important relating to the Inquiry Model this in my mind is the most important.
Towards the very end of our presentation we felt like giving an example of an organization that follows the method of Inquiry-based learning would be fitting. We provided information on AIBL. AIBL stands for Academy of Inquiry Based Learning. “This organization consists of professors, instructors, teachers, and non-teaching supporters meaning retired professors or teachers that have had experience teaching Inquiry- based learning (inquirybasedlearning.org).” This specific organization focuses on Mathematics Education instead of education as a whole. Their mission is pretty simple as its improving Mathematics Education. “They accomplish their mission by training math instructors to implement student-centered and teacher-guided math approaches. Their strategies of doing this include providing a network of mentors, access to IBL course materials, visiting speakers, and small grants. Most importantly, instructors/ professors of all levels are encouraged and welcome to participate (inquirybasedlearning.org).” Regardless of how little experience you may have, AIBL is determined to help you out and put you on a path to succeed as an instructor or anything else you may want to be. If you want to join AIBL you can contact Stan Yoshinobu (Director of AIBL), Angie Hodge (Special Projects Coordinator), Dana Ernst (Special Projects Coordinator), or Kaylene Wakeman (Administrative Coordinator of AIBL).
Our conclusion or closing statement was that the Inquiry Model is without a doubt the best way to both use as a teacher and learn as a student, and what other type of learning can possibly beat that? In other words we feel like it’s absolutely essential for teachers of all types of subjects to follow this type of method. In our minds there aren’t any disadvantages to the Inquiry Model because it gives students the opportunity to gain all types of skills that will help them not only in school, but in life as a whole as well. Parents certainly will favor this type of learning method hearing something like this. And don’t forget about the satisfaction of teachers as well. As a teacher I’m sure there’s not a better feeling in the world than knowing the fact that you single-handily changed multiple peoples’ lives based on your effective style of teaching. The last key point here about Inquiry-based learning relating to what I just talked about is the fact that it motivates students to be in the classroom because they know the importance of acquiring new knowledge as well as gaining skills that will last you forever. Due to this, students definitely learn at a more efficient pace. The Inquiry Model can be used at all ages which may be the best aspect of it. Regardless of the intelligence of a person, Inquiry-based learning can play a role.
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