Sunday, January 21, 2007

Inquiry-based learning

There has been a bit of a gap in blogging, because I have been at an "academy" organised by the Centre for Inquiry-Based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences for some of the people involved in CILASS e.g. academics from departments (archaeology, English, education etc) who have been implementing CILASS projects. The academy was held at Higham Hall in the Lake District, which is lovely (see fire assembly point, right & nearby field, below), but there was no internet access (broadband had gone down) so my dreams of blogging were doomed. You had to go to the end of the drive for mobile coverage too.

Anyway, it was avery stimulating event, with about 25 participants (a nice number) and two excellent guest facilitators/speakers in Angela Brew and Carolin Kreber. One thing this kind of event can do is remind you of the student experience e.g.

1) I realise I misunderstood the "homework" we were asked to do, writing about an experience of collaboration. I thought it meant you were collaborating to teach, whereas in fact it was supposed to be the students collaborating to learn. Fortunately I didn't look a complete idiot, since my example was an exercise in which students design, respond to and critique a questionnaire (in order to learn about questionnaire design) and there was student colloaboration as well as teacher collaboration (the description is here if you are interested).

2) In one of the first exercises (which was something like "write down one thing which inquiry-based learning means to you" on a post-it note, then swap it round til you don't know whose you've got, then put the post it on the board reading out the statement loudly) my mind went a complete blank. Help! I hadn't got my head round it and everyone else was swapping! Would anyone notice I hadn't handed round a note and didn't post anything?! (they didn't)

I think it is salutary to be in this sort of position periodically, to remind one of real anxieties first hand! More about the positive experiences anon.

No comments: