Despite this clear distinction between learning a discipline and practicing a discipline, many curriculum developers, educational technologists, and educators seem to confuse the teaching of a discipline as inquiry (i.e., a curricular emphasis on the research processes within a science) with the teaching of the discipline by inquiry (i.e., using the research process of the discipline as a pedagogy or for learning). The basis of this confusion may lie in what Hurd (1969) called the rationale of the scientist, which holds that a course of instruction in science should be a mirror image of a science discipline, with regard to both its conceptual structure and its patterns of inquiry. The theories and methods of modern science should be reflected in the classroom. In teaching a science, classroom operations should be in harmony with its investigatory processes and supportive of the conceptual, the intuitive, and the theoretical structure of its knowledge. (p. 16) This rationale assumes "that the attainment of certain attitudes, the fostering of interest in science, the acquisition of laboratory skills, the learning of scientific knowledge, and the understanding of the nature of science were all to be approached through the methodology of science, which was, in general, seen in inductive terms." (Hodson, 1988, p. 22) The major fallacy of this rationale is that it makes no distinction between the behaviors and methods of a researcher who is an expert practicing a profession and those students who are new to the discipline and who are, thus, essentially novices.
From Kirshner, Sweller and Clark: "Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not
Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and
Inquiry-Based Teaching" (pdf file) in Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 75-86; 2006.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Barry left this passage from Kirschner, Sweller, & Clark's Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work: