October 5, 2011 in Uncategorized
Inquiring minds want to know.
The National Enquirer used to run TV ads with that tagline. (Yes, remembering this puts me way back in the 20th century. Hey, the Enquirer still exists. Just a couple of weeks ago it reported that Sarah Palin had a fling with Glen Rice of the NBA back in 1987. Now that’s journalism.) Though never a fan of the tabloid itself (really, I swear), I nonetheless found that tagline appealing — albeit, somewhat tautological.
The team of educators that’s initiating this CLN project, which includes me, believes that inquiry is at the heart of learning. Not just because wanting to know sparks the learning process but because learning and inquiry are essentially the same thing.
The inquiry model we’re using, presented by Barbara Stripling, unfolds in six stages: Connect; Wonder; Investigate; Construct; Express; Reflect. Other inquiry models — e.g., Guided Inquiry, by Kulthau, Maniotes, and Caspari (2007) — contain slight, though significant, modifications. Whatever the variations, these models describe a flow from curiosity to creation. Our minds encounter striking information, consider it, then start working with it, making and sharing new information. That’s learning.
In summarizing a half-century of cognitive science research, the National Research Council (How People Learn, 2000) says:
• Learning is internally developed… constructed.
• Learning is acquired in context, latched onto existing frameworks of knowledge.
• The learner is motivated intrinsically and through socialization.
We believe a learning network is a community of inquiring minds. This network will thrive to the extent that its members share a desire to explore create, and communicate new information. We want to know.