Journal Entry #15, I-Search Continues

As I sat down to write out my first journal entry this week I found myself feeling a bit confused and overwhelmed as to the direction of my I-Search. I know what I want to focus on but I feel like my train of thought has been derailed slightly. There are a lot of other things going on in this class and my other classes at the moment and I have found it hard to focus my I-Search the way I would like to. So, that being said I am going to take the chance to use this journal entry to refocus and clarify for myself the focus and intent of my I-Search.

Originally I was very intrigued by the idea of focussing my I-Search on inquiry based learning (IBL). I was previously introduced to inquiry learning in another class I had previously taken and I figured this I-Search would be a good opportunity to better understand what inquiry learning is. What i previously understood was that IBL was a more involved process where students are encouraged to ask questions, collaborate and investigate. As my search continues these ideas are being enforced, which is a good thing; but at the same time there are so many other ideas and concepts that are a part of IBL and it has become a bit confusing.

I think a big part of better focussing my I-Search is to first understand what inquiry is and how inquiry based learning works.

1) What is inquiry?

“Inquiry is a study into a worthy question, issue, problem or idea. It is the authentic, real work that that someone in the community might tackle. It is the type of work that those working in the disciplines actually undertake to create or build knowledge. Therefore, inquiry involves serious engagement and investigation and the active creation and testing of new knowledge.”

http://galileo.org/teachers/designing-learning/articles/what-is-inquiry/

“In 1910, John Dewey presented a theory of inquiry for educators.  He proposed that inquiry involves studying, pondering, considering alternative possibilities and multiple sources of evidence to change or support beliefs.  Years later, Piaget claimed that children learn through asking questions and challenging and reworking prior understanding through active engagement.”

http://local38.teachers.ab.ca/Archived%20Pages/ATA%20Glance%20Newsletter/March%202006/Pages/What%20Is%20Inquiry.aspx

These 2 sites helped to clarify what inquiry is.

2) What is inquiry based learning (IBL)?

I Found the quote below on this site: https://education.alberta.ca/teachers/aisi/themes/inquiry.aspx

“Inquiry-based learning is a complex process where students formulate questions, investigate to find answers, build new understandings, meanings and knowledge, and then communicate their learnings to others.  In classrooms where teachers emphasize inquiry-based learning, students are actively involved in solving authentic (real-life) problems within the context of the curriculum and/or community.  These powerful learning experiences engage students deeply.

Research suggests that inquiry-based learning increases student creativity, independence, and problem solving skills, and it improves student achievement.”

Perhaps part of the reason I am feeling confused is that inquiry is a complex idea in itself. As demonstrated by the above quotes there is a lot more to inquiry than just asking questions and investigating. Now that I am thinking about it, I suppose I am sort of inquiring as to what inquiry and IBL really are… Enough thinking for now. As I continue my I-Search I hope that my thoughts and ideas become more clear and that I develop  more concrete knowledge about inquiry and IBL.

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