Monday, October 5, 2009

Inquiry Learning

I have been able to partake in a few inquiry labs with my mentor teacher this year. They have all been great experiences. I think it is very useful to have one in the beginning of the school year because it sets a precedent for the development of academic character while letting everyone in the classroom get to know each other. It is also an environment to reinforce a safe learning community- especially that there are no stupid questions and mistakes lead to greater learning. It is incredibly helpful to see the type of vocabulary students use, thought patterns, misconceptions, prior knowledge, and motivations an inquiry lab reveals. The hard part seems to be organizing it into small enough time chunks so that students are able to stay on topic, fully dive into the activity, but allow enough time to cover all the material. I think inquiry labs are a way for students to be engaged in an activity that helps develop both cognition and conceptual skills. I plan to continue to investigate these types of experiences are figure out how to use them effectively in my classes.

1 comment:

  1. I agree on many of these points. But I do have a question for you. Besides doing an inquiry activity early on, what else did your mentor teacher do to encourage an atmosphere where making mistakes is good? I'm finding that especially now, students are really afraid of getting things wrong; it's been difficult to convince them that getting an answer "wrong" can actually teach them more than getting the answer right the first time. How did you and your mentor get past this hurdle?