Leader: M.W. Aulls
Linked Researchers: Abrami, Philip C. ; Ammar, Ahlem ; Azevedo, Roger ; Bernard, Robert ; Bracewell, Robert J. ; Brodeur, Monique ; Dedic, Helena ; Delcourt, Marcia ; Farmer, Lesley ; French, Leif ; Gatbonton, Elizabeth ; Henry, Laurie ; Hyslop-Margison, Emery ; Kalman, Calvin Shea ; Labanca, Frank ; Lasry, Nathaniel ; Muis, Krista ; Rosenfield, Steven ; Savard, Annie ; Schmid, Richard ; Segalowitz, Norman S. ; Shore, Bruce M ; Stringer, Ronald ; Tamim, Rana ; Turner, Carolyn ; Venkatesh, Vivek ; Waddington, David ; White, Beverley Joy
INQUIRY TEACHING AND LEARNING concerns the ways of knowing, teaching, and learning that focus on meaningfulness, student activity, ownership, interest, and engagement, as well as on the exchange of roles among students and teachers. The scientific focus of this axis is to understand the place inquiry has in the educational process, to understand how the nature of inquiry itself plays a role in the way students learn, how teachers understand inquiry and the ways it shapes the way they teach, and how teachers, students, and schools commit to, initiate, build, and sustain an inquiry focus. The applied foci are to understand knowledge, beliefs, and values regarding inquiry in education, to develop a "tool-box" of evaluation instruments to help learners, teachers, and schools build their capacity as centers of inquiry, and to develop and study the use of complementary web-based tools that encourage inquiry- and curiosity-driven, independent and small-group study by students.
Some Theme Areas:
Alignment of Curriculum, Teaching, and Evaluation in Inquiry: This alignment project focuses on curriculum, instruction (didactics and pedagogy), evaluation, and their alignment. We address (a) identification of the outcomes that are unique to inquiry or especially favored in inquiry learning, (b) teacher knowledge, skills, dispositions, and beliefs (e.g., about inquiry, social constructivism, curriculum, instruction, and evaluation) that carry teachers forward across preservice education then to actual practice, or motivate practicing teachers to adopt an inquiry orientation, (c) developing tools to evaluate dimensions of inquiry learning, teaching, and alignment with evaluation, (d) providing tools and strategies to reduce the lack of alignment among the three critical areas of curriculum, instructional support, and evaluation, and needs assessment for and delivery of professional development. We also examine these questions in relation to students of high ability and with learning needs, and in technological environments.
Critical thinking(CT), or the ability to engage in purposeful, self-regulatory judgment, is widely recognized as an essential skill for the knowledge age. Most educators agree that learning to think critically is among the most desirable goals of formal schooling. This includes not only thinking about important problems within disciplinary areas, such as history, science, and mathematics, but also thinking about the social, political, and ethical challenges of everyday life in a multifaceted and increasingly complex world. Educators are not alone in their concern about the urgency of teaching and learning CT. The Conference Board of Canada expressed the need for Canadians to improve their CT skills to strengthen Canada's innovation profile and competitive advantage in the knowledge-based global economy. Members of the CT theme review evidence and conduct primary studies on CT interventions and measures.
Inquiry strategies: A significant number of students lack the fundamental information and inquiry skills such as identification, evaluation and synthesis necessary to support reading comprehension and writing, particularly within Internet-based environments. Skilled readers should not only have decoding and comprehension skills in familiar contexts but also the ability to interpret and to develop new understandings in far-ranging learning contexts and situations. Thus, the skills that students need include how to: develop a range of questions to frame the search for new understanding; how to search for, identify, evaluate, and select appropriate sources; make sense of information gathered from diverse sources by identifying misconceptions, main and supporting ideas, conflicting information, and points of view; maintain a critical stance by questioning the validity of all information; and monitor gathered information to assess gaps and weaknesses.