As a driver, you are aided by reporters in a traffic helicopter. These reporters can help you make decisions about the route to take to your destination, even though they are far removed from actual cars. Those of us viewing classrooms from our ivory towers can also provide valuable information--information gleaned from a distance that can help you make decisions about how to get your students to your chosen educational destination.
Research tends to look at education from a long view, abstracting out details in making generalizations, which is generally true in all sciences. Like any critical consumer, when you learn about a research study, start by thinking a little about the research itself.
This helps you recognize what kinds of conclusions are more and less appropriate--and whether the researchers are overgeneralizing. Studies can be roughly grouped into three broad categories Dimsdale and Kutner The "gold standard" for research is the randomized experimental study--the classic experiment where a group is randomly divided into two or three subgroups and an experimental treatment is applied to one or more subgroups, with another subgroup as a control. It is difficult to do this kind of research--the randomized experimental study--in education.
Instead, various quasi-experimental studies the second type of study aim for conditions approximating those of randomly assigned groups, but working within real world constraints--such as treatment and control groups made up of different classes, with the assumption that the classes are otherwise identical, or examining student characteristics as a means toward creating subgroups deemed identical. The third broad type of study is more descriptive and inductive, usually designed to provide a rich enough description of a setting that readers better understand an aspect of their teaching life, or as a source of ideas worthy of further testing usually via experimental or quasi-experimental methods.
Consider the well-known educational research, which illustrates all three catagories of studies, that Mary Budd Rowe and others did on the teaching skill she called wait-time. Most teachers wait less than a second for students to respond after asking a question; if there is no response, we jump in with more talk. Go Twins! Target Field prints available. His best work comes from images first painted in his mind.
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The Lingo of Learning 88 Education Terms Every Science Teacher Should Know
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Reply94 Private is January 18, at Archived genus, protect you not not! Reply95 corburterilio January 25, at request IL was I might quantify this deck. To parallel the generation of open inquiry questions from structured experiences, the first part of the SLI assignment called for a structured inquiry lesson. Each teacher candidate based the structured lesson on a FOSS Full Option Science System physical science module that had been examined in class prior to the assignment. The second part of the assignment called for an open inquiry lesson; the question for open inquiry was to stem from the first investigation.
For each of the two parts of the SLI assignment candidates submitted 1 a detailed lesson plan, 2 a recording of the session, and 3 a written account of the lesson. Methodology and Results. Forty-five teacher candidates completed the Science Learning Investigation assignment over the course of two semesters: 21 the first semester and 24 the second semester. The grade level distribution of their students appears in Table 1.
Lesson plans and written accounts from 42 of the assignments were used in a constant comparative analysis. Course planning documents and instructor notes provided triangulation of data. Results indicated that. Student Grade Levels.
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In the first part of the assignment structured inquiry the majority of candidates patterned the lesson closely on the FOSS example and used structured inquiry to help children reach meaningful understandings of science concepts. Distribution of Lessons. The situation in the second part of the SLI assignment open inquiry was much different. The majority of students each semester failed to elicit an investigatable question from their students as a result of their initial structured inquiry lesson.
Though attempts were made in the second semester to be more explicit about the goal of generating an investigatable question, and the instructor provided suggestions and examples, the results were essentially the same both semesters. Level of inquiry. Open: child decided question, process. Guided: teacher set question, child decided process. Structured: teacher set question and process.
Structured with elements of open inquiry. Teacher centered IVP : no question.
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The distribution of inquiry levels among the second lessons is shown in Table 2, divided by semester. There were three lessons each semester that qualified as open inquiry. That is, the child decided the question and a process for answering the question. An additional three lessons the first semester and seven lessons the second semester were guided inquiries in which the children had major responsibilities for deciding the direction of the investigation. Eleven of the lessons each semester remained in the category of structured inquiry, though three of these structured inquiry lessons in the first semester and two in the second semester included elements of open inquiry.
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In three other cases the children had asked investigatable questions during the first lesson, and those questions were used as introductions to structured investigations. One of the latter cases was the child described above, who wanted to know what would happen if all of the liquids were put in the freezer.
Between lessons the instructor alerted the teacher candidate to the potential question, but instead of using it as open inquiry, the freezing question became a structured inquiry. In addition, there were four cases when no inquiry happened. The lessons were very teacher centered, and the children were directed toward predetermined goals. Three of the lessons also included major periods of lecturing.
Another pass through the data for possible explanations of the scarcity of open inquiry revealed that five of the six cases of open inquiry had happened with children in grade 2 or below, even though half of the children involved in the 42 lessons were above the second grade level.
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