PART A: "INQUIRY" APPROACHES TO TEACHING SCIENCE
Definition of "inquiry"
The essence of the inquiry approach is to teach pupils to handle situations
Which they encounter when dealing with the physical world by using
Techniques, which are applied by, research scientists. Inquiry means that
Teachers design situations so that pupils are caused to employ procedures
Research scientists use to recognise problems, to ask questions, to apply
Investigational procedures, and to provide consistent descriptions,
Predictions, and explanations, which are compatible with shared experience
Of the physical world.
"Inquiry" is used deliberately in the context of an investigation in
Science and the approach to teaching science described here. "Enquiry" will
Be used to refer to all other questions, probes, surveys, or examinations
Of a general nature so that the terms will not be confused.
"Inquiry" should not be confused with "discovery". Discovery assumes a
Realist or logical positivist approach to the world, which is not
Necessarily present in "inquiry".
Inquiry tends to imply a constructionist
Approach to teaching science. Inquiry is open-ended and on going.
Discovery concentrates upon closure on some important process, fact,
Principle, or law, which is required by the science syllabus.
How to teach using an inquiry approach
There are a number of teaching strategies, which can be classified as
Inquiry. However, the approaches have a number of common aspects. The
Rationale for the inquiry approach has strong support from constructionist
Psychology. The teacher applies procedures so that:
(a) There is a primary emphasis on a hands-on, problem-centred approach;
(b) the focus lies with learning and applying appropriate
investigational or analytical strategies (This does not have anything to do
with the use of the so-called "scientific method".);
(c) memorising the "facts" of science which may arise is not as
important as development of an understanding of the manner of...