Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Inquiry: BEST Way to ENGAGE Students

Why does inquiry-based learning engage students?
From our infancy, inquiry is the way we make sense of the world around us. Humans are naturally curious, and as we seek answers to questions or resolutions to problems, we construct new knowledge. Successfully doing that is motivating. Furthermore, inquiry suggests there is more than one right answer which encourages risk-taking, does it not? Operating in a low-risk environment is also motivating, and when students are motivated, they are engaged.
Why is inquiry-based learning so important to students' education?
Back in the day when our economy was based upon agriculture or unskilled labor, education's purpose was to learn/memorize information. The Education Broadcasting Corporation states that today's society is
faster paced, globally networked, technologically oriented, and requires workers who can problem solve and think critically. ...  Inquiry learning can turn information into useful knowledge. It stresses skill development and nurtures the development of good habits of mind. Information, lacking a useful context, often has limited applications beyond passing a test.
Inquiry is the Language Arts Core Curriculum's third standard, and it is the least understood. Today 8 teachers from our district participated in the Secondary Literacy Institute, sponsored by our partnership with BYU, Alpine, Nebo, Provo, and Wasatch School Districts. Dr. Jeff Wilhelm directs the Institute and today all attending participants shared their inquiry units with each other.

On January 27th, JSD will hold our first professional development class for teachers interested in learning more about Inquiry-based Learning. I will be assisting our instructor Leslie Thompson of Copper Hills High. Leslie earned her master's degree in IBL and uses this model to conduct all her classes - including her mythology class. We are thrilled that the class carried, and excited to facilitate the great learning that is sure to occur. In the meantime, take a peek at the good times teachers enjoyed today at our own Valley High School.

1 comment:

Cat said...

I always learn so much from you!
Thanks for all the great ideas!