Why Inquiry A Historical And Philosophical Commentary

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"Making observations, asking questions, and pursuing investigation has always been a fundamental human approach to understanding the world."

"perhaps now, more than ever before, the ability of average citizens to think for themselves may be the best protection in a world of increasing technological and scientifc complexity."

"Dewey believed that the ability to reason scientifically was an essential skill for coping with the complexities of modern life, and he warned tht failure to cultivate such skills risked"a return to intellectual and moral authoritarianism".

From Socrates through Dewey and more recent thinkers, inquiry (i.e. questions and then direct experimentation) has been the main driver of scientific thought (and most other lines of knowledge). We live in an age of quickly changing and ever more technical devices and processes. We need to have members of society that can think critically and creatively in order for our survival and achievement. However, these skills are not being mandated in our current educational system. It has been left up to the teacher incorporate the teaching of these inquiry skills into their classes while dissiminating all the required information. The task is not easy and requires significant effort.

In the high school, there is an added hurdle. Even though most student enjoy inquiry experience, the experience requires work, more work than if simply give the information. Current teenagers are overbooked with activties in school and outside school. Overbooked means tired more often and an attitude resistant to the inquiry approach. In addition, the teenage years are one of finding out what one likes and dislikes. So, there is resistance when the student don't like the subject no matter how the teacher approaches the material. Often you here, "Can't you just give me the answer" from a student. Socrates would kick this person out of the Agora. So, I believe I could do more for inquiry expreience in my class but knowing that not all concepts should be given this way.

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Last edited June 7, 2009 9:28 am (diff)