Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Inquiry-Based Learning

I believe that often learning is more about asking the right questions than providing the right answers.

I am a huge fan of inquiry-based learning, where students learn by seeking out the answers to questions, whether they are prompted by the teacher or the student. With the student population I work among, this usually means that I'm the one asking the questions to propel learning. Rather than telling my students the "answer" when they have a question, I try to ask a question to make them think. If they aren't able to answer my question, I ask another question, trying to build on what they already know.

Sometimes I have to give raw facts or the "right answers". But it is my goal to ask questions first, to help my students think and to challenge them to explore math for themselves. I would a hundred times rather that my students leave my class having learned to think critically than that they leave having memorized a few formulas that they'll forget in a matter of months.

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