Unit 2: What Makes Inquiry So Difficult to Implement Well?
1. What are some of the difficulties with inquiry-based learning?
2. Demonstrate a positive attitude and increased comfort levels of implementing inquiry-based activities
2.1 List some of the common drawbacks to an inquiry-based approach
2.2 Share personal experiences with inquiry-learning
Before We Begin
Part of the reason you're taking this course is because inquiry is not easy for most of us to implement. In order for us to begin to learn some best practices and effective strategies we can implement, we must first identify the problem. I would like you to get started on Unit 2 by jotting down a few of the issues that keep you from effectively implementing inquiry labs. You'll use those ideas later on in the unit.
2.1 Difficulties with Inquiry
INTRODUCTION: So, what are some of the most common problems that we find when we try to use inquiry labs? In my experience, one of the top problems we run into is time. The time it takes to plan inquiry labs and the classroom time it takes to implement them. There are also the difficulties that come along with assigning open-ended group work. These are issues such as developing group norms, picking appropriate group activities, and monitoring group discussions. Many teachers have expressed concern over their ability to teach using inquiry, citing lack of proper training. There is also the concern that inquiry labs won't help student be adequately prepared for end of year exams. Inquiry labs are also difficult because students are often resistant to these open-ended activities.
ACTIVITY: For this activity, you will be creating a slide on our class's shared slideshow page (linked below). Remember that list that I had you jot down above? This is where it comes into play! You should each create one slide that details or explains a specific problem/difficulty/question that you have when it comes to either designing or implementing inquiry labs. Please make sure your name appears somewhere on the slide. To insert a new slide, click "slide" from the top menu, then "new slide."
Google Slideshow: [Difficulties with Inquiry]
2.2 Your turn: Sharing your own experiences with Inquiry
INTRODUCTION: Now that we have explored the benefits to using inquiry, and also looked at some of the difficulties we've had, we will want to start moving toward the design stage. Before we move ahead to the design stage, it is important for us to take a little time to share our own experiences with inquiry learning and inquiry labs. Perhaps you have experienced something that can help another teacher, or perhaps you might have some good pointers for someone else.
ACTIVITY: For this activity, you will be going back to the slideshow linked above in 2.1. I would like you to comment on 1-2 of your peers' slides. Those of you who are more familiar with inquiry can provide some helpful advice for how you have worked with that specific difficulty. Please provide a comment with more than just "I agree." If you don't have any advice from personal experience, then you can brainstorm together on possible solutions. Once the slideshow is open, and you have clicked on the slide you want to comment on, all you need to do is click the "comment" button on the top right of the page.