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8 Supporting Inquiry-Based Teaching and Learning School principals, district adminis- Support for inquiry-based teaching trators, and teacher leaders (including and learning must encompass several department chairs) are essential links different elements: in the adoption of inquiry as a way of teaching and learning. Extensive • Understanding what is meant by research evidence gathered over inquiry-based teaching and learning many years points to the importance and knowing the advantages docu- of leadership from principals and mented for inquiry by research; other building level administrators in • Understanding the change improving the quality of teaching and process that occurs when teachers are learning in their schools (Fullan, 1991; learning to teach through inquiry and Prather, 1996). Support, guidance, students are learning to learn through and leadership are vital if teachers are inquiry so that all of their concerns to make major shifts from a traditional can be anticipated and support can be didactic style of teaching to one that tailored to meet their evolving needs; emphasizes inquiry. and This support needs to have many • Providing a coordinated support dimensions, be on-going, and be system that maximizes the staff’s tailored to meet the changing needs of opportunity to grow and succeed in the science staff as their teaching teaching through inquiry. changes. Furthermore, it won’t be just the science teachers who will be The coordinated support system changing; if inquiry-based teaching is likewise has a number of dimensions: to succeed, students, parents, adminis- trators, and teachers of other subjects • Professional development will be changing as well. • Administrative assistance and support 143 S U P P O RT I N G I N Q U I RY- B A S E D T E A C H I I N G A N D L E A R N I N G

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• Providing instructional materials, documents some of the benefits kits, and equipment students will gain from the experience. • Communication with parents and Not only will they learn the science the public they need in a deeper way, but the • Student assessment procedures process of developing the abilities of aligned with the outcomes of inquiry inquiry will help them “learn how to • Promoting inquiry and problem learn,” a valuable tool for all students. solving in other subject areas • Teacher evaluation consistent UNDERSTANDING THE CHANGE with inquiry teaching PROCESS There is no magic formula or recipe Teaching and learning through to follow in incorporating inquiry into inquiry is a new experience for most classrooms and schools. Success faculty members, administrators, requires creativity and sensitivity to a parents, and students. It therefore particular context and set of goals. requires a significant change in attitude and behavior on the part of all groups. As indicated in the previous UNDERSTANDING INQUIRY section, inquiry has been a part of Providing leadership and support education for many years but in a form for inquiry-based teaching and learn- somewhat different than the specific ing requires a working knowledge of outcomes described in the Standards. the topic. It will be necessary to For example, inquiry-based teaching interpret and, at times, defend the is not the same as teaching the pro- practice with other administrators, cesses of science or the “discovery parents, and staff members not learning” of 25 years ago because it engaged in inquiry-based teaching. places more emphasis on helping Comparisons of inquiry as it is carried students develop the cognitive abilities out by scientist and by students — scientists use to build scientific such as the comparison in Chapter 1 knowledge. Even for many teachers — can begin to build a case for teach- who are using kits or programs that ing and learning through inquiry. claim to be inquiry-based, the ap- The short history of inquiry pre- proach to inquiry described in this sented in Chapter 2 underscores that report and in the Standards, if taken it is not a new idea or fad. It is a seriously, will be a significant change. powerful way to engage with the Fortunately, an extensive body of content of many disciples, not just knowledge is available about how science. In addition, the research change can occur effectively in educa- evidence described in Chapter 6 tional settings (Fullan, l991, 1993). 144 I N Q U I R Y A N D T H E N AT I O N A L S C I E N C E E D U C AT I O N S TA N D A R D S

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Much of the recent literature on Teaching through inquiry requires change recognizes that it is both an teachers to think and act in new ways, individual and an organizational which takes the form of new skills, phenomenon. Change affects every behaviors, instructional activities, educator, administrator, and parent as assessment procedures, and so on. well as the school or school system of The conventional wisdom has been which they are a part. This research that changing teachers’ thinking or also observes that change has a beliefs will produce new behaviors. number of inherent features: Research on teacher change, however, indicates that the process often works • Change is a process that takes the other way around: changes in time and persistence. Early in a attitudes or belief patterns often result change, people often feel awkward, when teachers use a new practice and frustrated, and clumsy as they try to see their students benefiting from it use new behaviors and coordinate new (Guskey, 1986). Thus, changes in materials, activities, and relationships. teaching often result in new attitudes A significant change in teaching often and commitment to the new approach. takes several years to master. In addition, how teachers think and • As individuals progress through feel about change appears to be a change process, their needs for developmental. Many studies of support and assistance change. individuals who have changed their • Change efforts are effective practice over time — both on their when the change to be made is clearly own initiative and when decisions to defined, assistance and opportunities do so were made by others — have to collaborate are available, and revealed that individuals go through administrators and policies support stages in how they feel about the the change. change (Fullan, 1991; Hall and Hord, • Most systems and institutions 1987; Huberman and Miles, 1984). resist change. Many educators find the progression • Organizations that are continu- of stages of concern a valuable lens for ously improving have ongoing mecha- facilitating change in schools nisms for setting goals, taking actions, (Lieberman and Miller, 1991; Joyce, assessing the results of their actions, 1990). Table 8-1 outlines the stages of and making adjustments. concern about the use of a teaching • Change is complex because it practice such as inquiry that calls for a requires people to communicate with significant change in behavior (Hord one another about complex topics in et al., 1987). organizations that are, for the most By being aware of these stages in part, large and structured (Loucks- teachers and others involved in Horsley et al., 1998). change, administrators and teacher 145 S U P P O RT I N G I N Q U I RY- B A S E D T E A C H I I N G A N D L E A R N I N G

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Table 8-1. Typical Expressions of Concern About an Innovation Stage of Concern Expression of Concern 6. Refocusing I have some ideas about something that would work even better. 5. Collaboration How can I relate what I am doing to what others are doing? 4. Consequence How is my use affecting learners? How can I refine it to have more impact? 3. Management I seem to be spending all my time getting materials ready. 2. Personal How will using it affect me? 1. Informational I would like to know more about it. 0. Awareness I am not concerned about it. Adapted from Hord et al., 1987. Taking Charge of Change. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. leaders can effectively select the types adopt new approaches to support of support that will be the most useful individual teachers. The remainder of to teachers as they experience this this chapter discusses a number of process. It is not a coincidence that these strategies. this bears some resemblance to the inquiry process itself. Professional development. As described in Chapter 5, professional development comes in many forms PROVIDING A VARIETY OF (Loucks-Horsley et al., 1998). If SUPPORT FOR STAFF teachers do not have access to such Changes implemented by individual opportunities, administrators can help teachers can succeed and endure only teachers find them or can create them with simultaneous changes in the in the school or in cooperation with district, school, or department in other schools. Many of the rich which the teacher is working. Re- variety of potential learning experi- search has demonstrated that the ences for teachers will not occur in an ability of individuals in a system to organized, formal class. change their teaching behavior is Every school has a measure of dictated to a large degree by the expertise and experience that can be underlying structures in the organiza- tapped. Even if formal arrangements tion such as rewards, policies, and the for assistance include outside help, overall culture of the organization administrators or teacher leaders can (O’Day and Smith, 1993). Effective facilitate internal support mechanisms change thus requires that a school such as the study groups described in 146 I N Q U I R Y A N D T H E N AT I O N A L S C I E N C E E D U C AT I O N S TA N D A R D S

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to practice new inquiry behaviors will the next section. Fostering “communi- want information about inquiry and its ties of learners” within schools will place in the curriculum. Administra- create a norm of experimentation and tors can provide them with reference evaluation that will apply to many materials and with access to other other innovations. (See Teaching teachers, university professors, or Standard F on page 51 and Program scientists who can answer their Standard E on page 222 of the Na- questions. tional Science Education Standards.) When the need for information is coupled with personal concerns (at Administrative assistance and stage of concern number 4, for ex- support. As teachers pass through ample), teachers often express wor- the stages of concern described in ries about whether the new teaching Table 8-1, administrators need to strategies will be acceptable to the provide them with professional principal, other teachers, and parents. development experiences appropriate These worries need to be listened to to their progress in constructing a and addressed, understanding that new view of teaching and creating the they are a natural part of the change new behaviors required to practice it. process. One way to address this For example, at an early stage of concern is to encourage small groups concern, teachers who are beginning 147 S U P P O RT I N G I N Q U I RY- B A S E D T E A C H I I N G A N D L E A R N I N G

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context of many competing demands for time and attention. Availability of instructional mate- rials, kits, and equipment. As personal concerns are resolved, many teachers have concerns about making things work (stage of concern num- ber 3). At this point, teachers have many “how to” questions about finding the time for inquiry activities, covering the content, keeping the students on task, having enough equipment, and so on. For example, is of teachers to form study and support the schedule conducive for inquiry- groups that meet on a regular basis based teaching? Are the periods or (during the school day if at all pos- teaching blocks long enough to sible). Small study groups not only complete most activities in one day? provide information; they also provide Do instructional units or courses of the mutual support that teachers need study incorporate inquiry as the main as they progress through their con- teaching and learning strategy? cerns. The collegiality provided by Traditional textbooks and units are this community of learners can also often not conducive to inquiry-based enhance teachers’ growth in learning teaching. Success is much more likely to use inquiry far more rapidly and when the teachers are using materials deeply than if each teacher were doing that have inquiry “built in.” Adminis- it alone. trators need to make an effort to see As the new teaching practices that teachers have such materials. See begin, teachers will have many con- Chapter 7 for ways to adapt traditional cerns about their effectiveness, the materials to support inquiry-based amount of work required, and their learning, should this be impossible. acceptance by others. Administrators Does the school or district emphasize need to assure teachers that they inquiry-oriented materials when know and support what the teachers approving textbooks and instructional are doing. Other teachers also need to materials? Are the criteria for selec- hear that administrators are behind tion based on standards (national or the inquiry-based approach. Public state) that have a strong inquiry expressions of support can reiterate component? Administrators have an the importance of inquiry in the 148 I N Q U I R Y A N D T H E N AT I O N A L S C I E N C E E D U C AT I O N S TA N D A R D S

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opportunity, an obligation, and often 1991; Calhoun, 1994) and examination the authority to influence the proce- of student work (Loucks-Horsley et al., dures and criteria used. Two recent 1998) by members of the group could resources from the Center for Science, be both motivating and helpful. Mathematics, and Engineering Educa- tion will be of help in this matter Interpreting inquir y-based teach- (NRC, 1999a; NRC, 1999b), as will ing and learning for parents and Appendix B. other members of the public. Nothing interferes with inquiry- Many administrators have learned the based teaching more than lacking an hard way that it is much better to be adequate supply of instructional proactive with the community than materials. Administrators need to reactive. Administrators cannot wait ensure that teachers have appropriate until the letters and phone calls start kits, equipment, and supplies, and that coming in from parents and other consumable supplies are replaced members of the public. They need to regularly. Is the storage space ad- introduce and explain inquiry to equate and secure? Experienced parents whose students are involved. teachers can help find the answers to Newsletters, parent meetings, open some of these questions, as can houses, phone trees, and special administrators who pay attention to invitations to “science nights” are all the problems teachers are having. ways to inform parents that inquiry- Only by working through manage- based teaching and learning is being ment questions can a teacher con- used in their child’s class. Administra- struct an image and an understanding tors need to know and share the of how inquiry-based teaching will advantages of teaching and learning benefit his or her students (stage of this way and, at the same time, be concern number five). Teachers at open about the pitfalls or adjustments this stage will ask hard questions that some students will have to make about the effectiveness of their teach- to succeed. Teachers also can be ing. They often will seek answers asked to describe what they will do to from the research and from careful help. student assessments to assure them- Building support with the public selves that they and the approach they cannot stop with parents. Local are using are effective. Study groups businesses, government agencies and can seek help from local university laboratories, museums, professional researchers or district level science societies, and so on will be interested education specialists in addressing in supporting standards-based reform these concerns. Small action research efforts and often can provide re- projects (Miller and Pine, 1990; Holly, sources of materials, kits, scientists as 149 S U P P O RT I N G I N Q U I RY- B A S E D T E A C H I I N G A N D L E A R N I N G

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consultants, or access to laboratories aged to use the kinds of classroom for field trips. The local media may be assessments described in Chapter 4, interested in a story that features a to embed their assessments in instruc- local innovation consistent with tion, to consider how students’ lan- national improvement efforts. By guage development influences assess- stressing the acquisition of fundamen- ment results if they teach English tal science knowledge through in- language-learners, and to use assess- quiry, administrators can avoid ments to inform both their immediate creating the image that inquiry is responses to students and their about exploring any interesting idea or ongoing designs for instruction. simply the latest fad on the educa- Administrators can review the quality tional scene. of the inquiry used in a class as well as students’ mastery of subject matter. Do teachers include questions on their Student assessment procedures quizzes (in the grades and courses aligned with the outcomes of inquir y. Students and parents where this is appropriate) and use quickly judge what is valued by the hands-on assessment tasks to measure tests and grading system the teachers inquiry abilities? Assessments of and the schools use, and they adjust inquiry are a very useful topic for their behavior accordingly. If the teacher study groups and for action inquiry activities and investigations research projects. are simply interludes between memo- If tests are mandated by the district rizing material from the text and other or state, what is their impact on sources, the motivation to acquire teachers? If the tests do not measure inquiry-based abilities will be limited. inquiry, how can the requirement or If a teacher’s tests and those required the nature of the tests be modified? by the school do not assess the Changing the policies involved is a tall abilities and understanding of inquiry order but well worth the effort. Many or, for that matter, the deep under- administrators and teachers are ready standing of science concepts, students and willing to join in this task. and parents may wonder why time is Until such changes can be made, being spent on inquiry. administrators need to be open about To avoid these pitfalls, administra- the fact that the tests only measure a tors can encourage teachers to com- portion of the science objectives or municate clearly to students and standards. And students who achieve parents what they expect students in a deep understanding of science their classes to know and be able to do content through inquiry usually do and how they will assess and grade well on conventional tests (Bransford them. Teachers should be encour- et al., 1999). 150 I N Q U I R Y A N D T H E N AT I O N A L S C I E N C E E D U C AT I O N S TA N D A R D S

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Promoting inquir y and problem solving in other subject areas. Inquiry is not exclusive to science or science teaching. Teachers in other departments at the secondary level and teachers teaching other subject areas at the elementary level can and often do use inquiry-like strategies. Teachers want and need the moral and collegial support of working with other teachers on innovative and, what they consider, risky projects. They also need the sense that they are not out on an “intellectual limb”; that inquiry has its counterparts in other support each other in a common effort disciplines in addition to science. to change the way they teach and their Mathematics educators have long students learn. advocated problem solving as an over- arching process for teaching math- Appropriate teacher evaluation ematics. The TIMSS eighth grade procedures. Problems are sure to video study of mathematics instruc- arise if the formal and informal evalua- tion (Stigler et al., 1999) highlighted tion of teachers is inconsistent with the value of individuals or small the essential elements of inquiry. groups of students working through a Teachers need to be assured that the complex problem independent of the innovative strategies they are using teacher before the teacher, with the are understood, objectively evaluated, help of several students, displays one and rewarded when executed well. or more acceptable solution strategies. The evaluator must understand Innovative social studies instructional inquiry to know what to observe in the materials have incorporated inquiry classroom. For example, evaluation of strategies by providing original source inquiry-based teaching requires more materials for students to use in their than one class period visit. What one investigations and an inductive ap- day looks like confusion, and maybe proach to reaching the big ideas and even chaos, might be the exploration principles. When the majority of phase of instruction that will be teachers in a school are working on a followed the next day when experi- common goal, the level and amount of ments and ideas come together for professional talk in the building goes most of the students. up (Little, 1993) and teachers begin to 151 S U P P O RT I N G I N Q U I RY- B A S E D T E A C H I I N G A N D L E A R N I N G

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CONCLUSION Evaluators also need to look for how the teacher uses curriculum Teaching science through inquiry materials, interacts with students to requires a new way of engaging increase their understanding, and students in learning. It therefore assesses student work and thinking in requires that all educators take on the ways that influence teaching plans. role of change agents. To foster the Teachers can be asked to explain how changes in teaching required by student work demonstrates growth in inquiry-based approaches, administra- student understanding. Talking to tors and other leaders need to provide students can reveal their understand- a wide array of support — from ing of the content and the methods of opportunities to learn, to materials inquiry they are using. Lesson plans and equipment, to moral support, and the instructional model being encouragement, and “running interfer- used can indicate whether students ence.” Without such support, inquiry- are actively engaged in inquiry. based science programs are unlikely to succeed and even less likely to be sustained. With it, all students are much more likely to understand, appreciate, and actively participate in the scientific world. 152 I N Q U I R Y A N D T H E N AT I O N A L S C I E N C E E D U C AT I O N S TA N D A R D S