What’s Worth Knowing, and What Role Can Inquiry Play? (Notes for Wenatchee Keynote)

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To answer the question in the title, we will examine some of the major societal trends and the educational needs created if these trends continue into the future. A brief look at the domains of learning will be followed by a review of what we know about how we learn and some models that seem to be compatible with this view. Of those discussed, we will focus on Science Inquiry as a tool that can be used by science and math teachers to empower their students in their roles as life-long learners.

TRENDS

� Demographic
� Economic
� Technology

DEMOGRAPHIC

� Changing family
� Poverty level of children
� Ethnicity
� Ageing

ECONOMIC

� Workforce changes
� Information society
� Globalization

TECHNOLOGY

� Change is outstripping ability to cope
� Environmental concerns
� Need for information scientists
� Digital divide

RESULTING EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM NEEDS

Students must be taught to manage their own learning.
Students need critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making skills.
There is an increasing need for science and math skills.
We need to develop connections between curriculum and life (careers +).

VISION

� Shift from Cartesian view to integrated view
- The skills and knowledge needed in the 20th Century were primarily discrete, linked to specific problems, and learned sequentially.
- As the problems have become increasingly complex and intertwined we will need skills and knowledge that cut across disciplines and are more systems related.
� Emphasis must be on CONTENT and PROCESS

CONTENT

� Emphasis must be on:
� The significance of the content
� The questions behind the information
� The structural aspects of the discipline
� How content in one field relates to content in another

PROCESS

� We must teach students to:
� Understand their own thinking processes and how to apply them to create new knowledge
� Manipulate current understandings to extend relationships and to produce meaningful understandings of themselves and of the world.

DIMENSIONS OF LEARNING (After Marzano)
Attitudes and perception
Habits of mind
Acquiring and integrating knowledge
Extending and refining knowledge
Using knowledge meaningfully

HOW THE BRAIN LEARNS

� The role of genetics
� Stage development/�Windows of Opportunity�
� Mental models
� Emotions
� Brain plasticity and the role of experience
� The social nature of learning

BRAIN-COMPATIBLE INSTRUCTION

� Problem-based instruction
� Project-based instruction
� Scottish Storyline approach
� Inquiry

INQUIRY FROM THE STUDENT�S VIEWPOINT

WOW!
What is it? How does it work?
Could this explain�?
How can I prove it?
Perform the test
Conclusion. New Question?

LIBERATING EDUCATION

The kind of education needed in the new millenium is liberating. It is designed to:
� Empower the learner
� Lead to life-long commitment to intellectual development

For more information, contact us.

robert.valiant2@verizon.net

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