The teacher must lead

See the underlined sentence below. In my experience, the teacher must lead the inquiry, but in the best scenarios, the kids typically think they are leading.

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6 Responses to The teacher must lead

  1. John T. Spencer says:

    That’s an interesting concept. Makes me wonder about the gradual release concept. Maybe the teacher leads the inquiry at first, but students take on that process and internalize it later.

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    • Jerrid Kruse says:

      I’m actually working on an article with some colleagues in which we investigate (think about) how GRR might be used in science. There is the “coupled inquiry” process which is similar to what you’re talking about, but I think this research piece is likely highlighting the importance of the teacher in the process. Oftentimes, kids develop interesting projects/inquiries, but to what extent they learn science (as opposed to just make interesting observations) is very teacher dependent.

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  2. David Wees says:

    I don’t disagree that teacher-led activities are usually better than student led activities in terms of learning outcomes, but what learning outcomes are being measured.

    Are they measuring the increase in knowledge about science? Or are they measuring the increase in capability to do science themselves? I’m not sure that these are exactly the same, and I think both are important. One is a measurement of the scientific knowledge students have gained, and the other is a measure of the ability to create new scientific knowledge. My suspicion is that students need some (significant) time working through teacher-led inquiry activities, but I also suspect that they need some messing around on their own time.

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    • Jerrid Kruse says:

      I think that is an important point and think this article was looking at science content. However, as I noted, the students can “take the lead” without actually being in the lead. I think the balance here is delicate and is what makes really effective teaching so dang hard.

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      • It’s also important to note that in this case, teacher-led is still on the “inquiry” spectrum. I believe the author is contrasting fully open student inquiry versus more teacher guidance. The author does point out that inquiry has been consistently shown to be more effective (for content knowledge) than direct instruction. From the article, “The results of this meta-analysis
        affirm this argument that engaging students in guided inquiry contexts does lead to learning gains when contrasted with comparison groups featuring traditional lessons or unstructured student-led activities.”

        I think this is well in line with previous research findings.

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