Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Inquiring about inquiry in AC: Geography and History

Related sites to Humsteach blog
Australian Curriculum Portal
DECD Learning Resources for Australian Curriculum
DECD Achievement Standards Charts 
Australian Geography Teachers' Association website

Geography Teachers Association of South Australia
History Teachers Association of South Australia
History Teachers Association of Australia 

Course details on FLO

The same but different

Inquiry is the preferred methodology in the Australian Curriculum: History and Geography. 

  In the lecture Adrian said that Inquiry learning is:

• research focussed
• real/authentic
• constructivist
• process based
• scaffolded
• about promoting, enhancing and guiding student learning
• the art of questioning – good questions
• problem based learning

and …

• does not hand over responsibility for learning to the students
• provides searching questions and guidance
• promotes engagement
• involves the development of scenarios for stimulus
• involves inquiry based decision making

What do all these mean?

It all sounds great but are there any downsides to inquiry based learning

Here are the details of how inquiry is addressed in these curriculum documents. Note, that inquiry in geography is different to that described in history. The same but different to keep the disciplines distinctive when using inquiry!

Inquiry in geography: an attempt to articulate and show geographical distinctiveness

“... process of inquiry by which students learn new geographical knowledge and deepen their understanding. This is developed through investigations that involve observations or questions (for example, about environmental, social, cultural and economic features) the collection and interpretation of information to develop conclusions; and reflection on the overall process. Inquiries may be undertaken by individual students, or collaboratively, and may vary in scale, geographic context, and the time taken for the investigation.”

The process of geographical inquiry ... is described in the curriculum under five headings, which represent the stages of a complete investigation. Over each two-year band, students should learn the methods and skills specified. Every investigation need not follow every step; the inquiry process may follow loops, in which students go back to an earlier stage to ask more questions or to undertake more analysis. Furthermore, not all inquiry requires the collection and processing of information, as the starting point could be a concept, or an ethical or aesthetic issue, which can be explored verbally. Many inquiries should start from the observations, questions and curiosity of students.

Observing and questioning: Developing questions about something that has been observed, experienced or thought about.

Planning, collecting and evaluating: Deciding how to investigate a question or find an answer to a problem, and identifying possible answers to test; collecting information from a variety of primary sources and secondary sources, such as text-based resources, statistics, images, maps, aerial photographs, satellite images, samples and objects, fieldwork, sketches, interviews, and reports; and evaluating information for reliability and bias.

Processing, analysing, interpreting and concluding: Making sense of the information gathered through textual analysis and interpretation, by processing it into maps, tables, graphs and diagrams. Identifying order, diversity, trends, patterns, anomalies, generalisations and cause and effect relationships, using quantitative and qualitative methods appropriate to the type of inquiry; and interpreting the results of this analysis and developing conclusions.
Communicating: Communicating the results of investigations using combinations of communication methods (verbal, audio, graphical, visual, mapping and text-based), which are appropriate to the subject matter, purpose and audience.

Reflecting and responding: Reflecting on the findings of the investigation and relating these findings to existing knowledge; reflecting on the process of the inquiry, and on the strengths and weaknesses of the method of investigation chosen; deciding what action is needed in response to the results of the investigation, by applying the criteria of environmental sustainability, economic costs and benefits, and social justice; and reflecting on the actions.

In history inquiry is described as:

One of the aims of the course is to develop student:
• capacity to undertake historical inquiry, including skills in the analysis and use of sources, and in explanation and communication

Historical Skills strand

• The skill strand promotes skills used in the process of historical inquiry: chronology, terms and concepts; historical questions and research; the analysis and use of sources; perspectives and interpretations; explanation and communication.
Inquiry questions

• Each year level from Foundation to Year 10 includes key inquiry questions that provide a framework for developing students’ historical knowledge,and skills

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