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This Summer as Inquiry

Ashley Dawkins's picture
Often times I feel that inquiry based learning is resisted because it requires more work. You can not sit there and “absorb” the knowledge being thrown at you. In essence I believe that traditional lecture styles do not require you to create an understanding of something, it only requires you to learn and accept what another person discovered. On the other hand, inquiry based learning requires that you construct an understanding for yourself. This is why it requires so much more work. This is something that I learn this summer.

I was looking through a paper I wrote to start the summer about the strengths and weaknesses of science and math education. I have to say that I think I believe it what I previously wrote, but I think I tended to focus on problems in education rather than what I wanted to my future students to achieve. After being apart of the three Summer Institutes and speaking with my partners in crime (Paul, Rebecca, Heather, and Ian) I think I just want my students to feel comfortable to create something. I want them to feel comfortable to fail and become frustrated. In fact I thought this summer would help create more of a realistic goal and understanding of what I wanted to achieve, but I think I have become even more idealistic. I thought that maybe all the stories the teachers had in the Institute would take away from my idealism, but it has enhanced it.

One on the questions I have to answer is whether or not this summer could be regarded as inquiry if so, to what extent. I think I have to answer yea. I say this because I was not sure what to expect this summer or what my role would be in the Institutes, I had to try and find my purpose. I had simple guidelines to follow, “Ashley, you will write summaries and critiques of the Institutes”. But this is all I knew. I did a lot of thinking and idea jotting for possible topics I would like to explore for a possible thesis, I had conversations with teachers, and I also was able to pull the two together and have a time during Science and a Sense of Place to explore some ideas with the teachers.

I would not say that this summer could be considered a type of guided inquiry, but inquiry nonetheless. I find myself asking, what exactly is inquiry? once more. But I think it is fair to say that I experienced it this summer. Now I have to think of how this can be applied elsewhere.

Below are links to everything that posted this summer outside of the blog:
Brain Stories

Genes, Brains, and Being Social

Fellow Traveling with Richard Rorty

Introducing Ourselves to a Sense of Place

Inductive Teaching and Learning

Brain and Behavior Session 1

Affective/Social Neuroscience and Education

Paul’s Brain as a Starting Point

Resistance to Science