Friday, 21 July 2017

Andrea Muller: Conceptual Inquiry Through Engaging Student Curiosity

Friday, July 21 at  BNMS

Resources Booklet

I care not what subject be taught, if only it be taught well - TH Huxley

In conceptual thinking it is important to know the kids:
It's good to know the content
It's great to know the pedagogy
It's imperative to know the kids

7 Essential Principles of Innovative Learning
  1. Learners have to be at the center of what happens in the classroom.
  2. Learning is a social practice and can’t happen alone.
  3. Emotions are an integral part of learning.
  4. Learners are different.
  5. Students need to be stretched, but not too much.
  6. Assessment should be for learning, not of learning.
  7. Learning needs to be connected across disciplines and reach out in the real world. 

Moving around the room looking at ideas:
  • Pictures - what concept relates to each pic
  • Quotes - to discuss
  • A series of statements - true or false
  • NESW - a key word starting with each letter (eg. What do you find WORRISOME about inquiry, what STANCE....)

Information World

We live in an age of information-overload and rapidly changing technologies.

Students in the 21st Century need to acquire skills for deciphering what information is useful and what is not.

Classrooms need to be learner focused: 

The Role of Knowledge Building (KB)
Knowledge Building pedagogy refers to teaching and learning approaches that: • are based on fundamental guiding principles rather than on procedures alone

  • focus on improving the ideas of the entire classroom community instead of solely on the individual learner
  • emphasize collaborative learning experiences within a classroom environment, where students openly and publicly negotiate their ideas with each other
  • strive to help students “regard themselves and their work as part of the civilization- wide effort to advance knowledge frontiers” 

(Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2009, n.p.)

deGrasse Tyson thinks we get in the way of learning, people don't have the space to discover and learn.

What are students doing in an inquiry classroom? 
(p. 12 in the resource Booklet)

What is the Teacher's Role in an Inquiry Classroom?

We need to record evidence of students' questioning and thinking.


5-3-1 Thinking Routine
Individually, identify 5 key ideas
In pairs, share your list and come up with your top 3.
At your table, or with another pair of students, identify 1 MVP (most valuable point) from the article.

My 5:
  • The more curious we are about a topic we are, the easier it is to remember info
  • Curiosity has to be stimulated
  • Stimulating curiosity is important for all ages
  • External rewards, however, may be useful if the subject matter to be learned is less interesting, and doesn’t have any inherent motivation. 
  • [For] children who may be struggling to learn and become frustrated. Stimulating curiosity before learning in an educational setting can enhance incidental learning and also increase the motivation to learn.”

Our MVP:
[For] children who may be struggling to learn and become frustrated. Stimulating curiosity before learning in an educational setting can enhance incidental learning and also increase the motivation to learn.”

We have an issue with students who are now terrified of taking risks without an adult supporting them - it comes from children not being allowed to step on the grass, climb trees, swing without being surrounded by adults.

So What?

What are Concepts?
Applicable in different concepts

Conceptual learning creates a cognitive framework that allows students to organise, retrieve and connect new learning and existing knowledge.

Students need to connect to a topic before gathering prior knowledge. This means that the provications are really important and then bringing out our prior knowledge. Therefore gathering prior knowledge isn't the starting point, the provocations are. Gathering prior knowledge comes at the start of learning inquiry.

Planning a Conceptual Unit (add in working from the top slide from slideshow)
Work from the bottom up with this process. The top step (Conceptual Understanding) is creating a Central Idea.

So What?
I have been left feeling inadequate and grumpy - I totally get the benefit of inquiry teaching and I know that it is the key part of our school, but I also feel like the school doesn't 'set the scene' for this to happen.