Inquiry learning and key competencies. Perfect match or problematic partners?. Rosemary Hipkins New Zealand Council for Educational Research. The spirit of change in NZC.
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Perfect match or problematic partners?
New Zealand Council for Educational Research
(just having knowledge is not enough – you need to be able to do things with your learning)
School-based curriculum design
Interconnected nature of learning
A more participatory view of learning
Huge range of potential inquiry contexts
Fertile questions often span learning areas
Students active at all stages of inquiry processThe potential match to inquiry (1)
(List based on Claxton, 2006, “fertile questions” = Harpaz, 2005)
Students are actively involved in any or all of
Lifelong learners (vision)
Using content knowledge when making good personal decisions (P+C fore-grounded)
ARB item LW0542
How safe are your sunglasses?
Pupil reflex protects eyes from UV
Sunglasses shade eyes and so pupils dilate
If glasses are not good UV filters, more UV can then enter eye
Damage to the retina could be a consequence of wearing such glasses
Knowing the science: easy
Constructing the simple chain of reasoning: very difficult
Seeing the big picture: priceless
(NB Year 9/10 students)
Real issues don’t sit neatly in subject slots – but keeping a disciplinary focus still matters
When students engage critically within each learning area in the curriculum, they have opportunities to develop the key competencies. By refocusing the way we currently teach, each learning area becomes a vehicle for developing key competencies, rather than the key competencies being another ‘add on’ to an already crowded curriculum.
Let’s be very clear:
KCs do not replace knowledge!
But they can powerfully transform what we can do with it!
Learning how to find stuff fast on the Internet. You can find anything once you have learnt how to do it. Copy and paste. Copy and paste.
In history and physics it is more like getting facts. In English it is translating what you have found into your own words and stuff.
History taught me how to use focusing questions to scan through resources. It was useful but I only use this tactic in history.
How some students see traditional “research” inquiry
To research like a “real historian” requires:
What could support students to learn in this disciplinary frame? How might learning here differ from and/or compliment student-led inquiry approaches?
One of the hallmarks of teaching for understanding is to seek rich and multi-dimensional connections between school subject matter and students’ lives, and specifically with the initial concepts students form by their life experiences
We would add that a related challenge is to stretch those connections, supporting students to experience less familiar ideas and contexts, and the diversity of ideas, peoples and cultures
Skills must be imparted in an authentic context in which learners/researchers experience them as essential for developing their understanding; dispositions must be cultivated through embodying them in ongoing behaviour, dealing with them in adequate opportunities, and experiencing intellectual activities that invite them