Definitionen und Beschreibungen
Im Exploratorium Institut for Inquiry, San Francisco,
hat 1996 eine große Konferenz über Entdeckendes Lernen (Inquiry Based
Education) stattgefunden. Alle Beteiligten wurden dabei auch gebeten,
kurze Statements zu ihrer Auffassung von Entdeckendem Lernen aufzuschreiben.
Wir dokumentieren hier einen Teil der Statements im Original und deshalb
in englischer Sprache. Ausgewählt haben wir vor allem Beiträge von Menschen,
die unsere Arbeit in Deutschland besondern beeinflusst haben. Außerdem
hat uns interessiert, was Künstlerinnen und Künstler von Entdeckendem
Lernen halten und wie sie das Verhältnis von Untersuchen und Gestalten
Die gesamten 38 Texte sind auf der IFI-Website zu
Dies sind die Autorinnen und Autoren, die wir ausgewählt
Hubert Dyasi, Leiter
des Workshop Centers New York
Ted Chittenden, Educational Testing Service, Princeton
Wynne Harlen, PISA-Koordinatorin
George E. Hein, ehem. Elementary Science Study Project
Mildred Howard, Künstlerin
Barry Kluger-Bell, Science Educator, Exploratorium
Barbara Rogoff, Erziehungswissenschaftlerin,
Mary Ann Smith, California Writing Project
Workshop Center, New York NY
Curiosity is the centerpiece of inquiry -- the desire
to know (in Greek, scio. -- etymological root for the word science);
and curiosity is indicated by a question or questions (voiced or acted
out), e.g. "Would Napoleon have won at Waterloo if he had been well
on 18 June 1815?"
To inquire is to seek, obtain and make meaning from answers
to one's questions. In science inquiry, questions generally relate to
natural and man-made phenomena. I identify the following components of
Noticing and raising questions about a phenomenon.
Firsthand inquiry involving exploration; generating investigatable
questions and carry out as planned.
Documentation of inquiries (creating a rich portfolio
of information and knowledge): records of questions raised, indicating
which ones were answered and which ones were not, procedures followed,
materials used and for what purposes, collected and organized data (e.g.
in graph form, anecdotes, etc.) and of references consulted; journals
and notebooks highlighting inquiries and resulting understandings.
Articulation of inquiry experiences: giving demonstrations,
making oral presentations of investigations carried out; public defense
of inquiries, findings and abstractions orally in discussions and also
Discourse on other people's related inquiries: comparison
of own work with published material dealing with specific related aspects
of science inquiries -- identify focal points of each source, meanings
of the focal points, illustrations used to clarify the focal points,
arguments advanced in support of the points, implications (as stated
by the source) of accepting the focal points. The inquirer indicated
points on which she/he agrees or disagreed with the source, bases for
disagreement or agreement, relevance of focal points to own inquiries
(sources include science books and journals, scientists and science educators).
Reflective Abstraction: inquirer must demonstrate how
inquiries constitute science "news" or significant science
knowledge; one must also demonstrate how the findings of the investigation
can be used to build other significant science knowledge. For example,
it is not sufficient for one who investigates densities of different
liquids simply to report his/her results; it is necessary to make abstractions
that relate to flotation and to ways in which the concept of density
might be utilized to illuminate other inquirers. An inquirer also compares
his/her "science" news with findings of professional sources
in the selected area and test the reliability of both her/his "news" and
findings from professional sources.
Chittenden, Research Psychologist, Educational Testing Service, Princeton
Much of our current work with schools and districts is
guided by the idea that the first purpose of assessment -- for primary
science -- is to help teachers document and understand children's learning.
The assessment stance is one of inquiry, of "finding out." When
a teacher asks: What have you noticed lately about our meal worms? or
What are some things you know about shadows? -- the questions are not
tests in disguise but rather reflect the teacher's attempt to support
children's observations and to gain some sense of the direction of children's
interests and thinking. Assessment as inquiry is intended to guide instructional
decisions, not grade pupils. It represents an attitude as much as a method,
and may be contrasted to the more common stance of educational assessment
-- testing of "checking up" -- to determine whether children
know the expected or desired answer. In primary science, there generally
are no single right answers to children's investigations; correspondingly,
assessment strategies need to be responsive to multiple, and sometimes
Harlen, ehem. Director, Scottish Council for Research in Education,
In the context of science education, inquiry is a major
means for learners to extend their understanding of the natural and made
environment. It is essentially active learning, inseparably combining
both mental and physical activity. The motivation for inquiry is within
the learner and the learner's relation to the things around him or her.
Inquiry starts with something that intrigues, that raises a question
in the mind of the learner - although it is not necessarily expressed
as a question - something that is not presently understood, that does
not fit with expectations, or just something that the learner wants to
know about, defining the cutting edge of learning in a particular area.
The process of inquiry involves linking previous experience
to the new experience in an attempt to make sense of the new. Thus it
starts from what is already known or believed about how the world works.
There may be several possible explanations, or hypotheses, drawing on
different previous experience. In science this first step will be followed
by some exploration or investigation to see whether what happens in a
practical situation fits with what the hypotheses predict. There may
be different possible interpretations and other evidence may need to
be sought to decide what makes most sense. The fit between the evidence
and the interpretation in terms of the ideas underlying the hypotheses
should be the essential test of its applicability. But even though the
evidence may fit, its limitation has to be realized and the idea accepted
only tentatively, to be challenged by possible further evidence.
Learning through inquiry is consolidated by reflection
on how ideas or understanding have changed and by reviewing and improving
the process of working towards answering the initial questions. The latter
is essential, since the learning by inquiry depends on how the testing
(processing) of ideas and evidence proceeds. If it lacks the rigor of
the scientific approach (controlling variables as necessary, for example)
then ideas which should be rejected or changed may be retained and vice
versa. The value for learning depends on the processes of the inquiry
- the linking, the hypothesizing, the gathering of evidence, the interpretation,
the communication, the reflection. Thus the development of inquiry skills
is essential to the development of understanding through inquiry.
E. Hein, Director, Program Evaluation & Research Group, Lesley
College, Cambridge MA
How inquiry is defined depends on one's definition of
education. I have described a model for classifying educational theories
in the two papers on Constructivism contained in the TEN web pages.
Inquiry as a pedagogic method is a process that occurs
within the bounds of theories. For Discovery Education, inquiry is the
process that leads learners to "discover" the concepts. For
Constructivism, inquiry must include the second component mentioned below.
My chief concern, from my perspective, is that scientific
inquiry be recognized as including two main characteristics. For me,
these are necessary components of inquiry.
a) Science inquiry involves the natural world, that those
who inquire subject themselves to the possibility that nature will get
in their way. Inquiry in science must involve doing, it cannot be limited
b) Science inquiry consists of actions in the world that
allow for multiple results. Any activity that is intended to lead to
one result only (or in which the manipulation of the world is such that
possible alternative lines of experimentation are prohibited) should
not be labeled as inquiry. The definition excludes almost all school
laboratory work, since that usually is intended to demonstrate a concept,
not generate novel or diverse activity.
Howard, Artist, Exploratorium, San Francisco CA
It is very difficult for me at this time to clearly define
inquiry. However my understanding of inquiry becomes deeper over time
therefore the way I describe it changes. There are elements of inquiry
that I believe remain constant and can be categorized in many ways. Many
of these elements have multiple meanings and can be overlaid with others.
The elements I came up with thus far are:
- Pursuing an idea, interest or question in a particular
- Understanding or having a willingness to learn what drives
that interest and where the ideas stem from
- Trusting previous knowledge and using that as a vehicle
to pursue one's idea, interest or question
- Understanding that there are choices that one can draw
- Creating an environment that is safe to work and pursue
ideas, interests or questions
- Having a choice of materials and developing a dialogue
with those materials. Developing a knowledge about the relationship
of the materials and the connections made to the idea, interest or
- Allowing the time to do what is necessary using the inquiry
approach to working
- Following one's own thinking
- Keeping track of that thinking
- Exploring and using one's gut feeling
- Risk taking and facing the void, that is, you know you
want to make something and may or may not know what the end result
- Working with accidents and sometimes following that path
- Exploring areas of problem solving
- Making an intangible idea, interest or question tangible
- Making a feeling a visual experience
- Developing an on-going dialogue and creating a visual
vocabulary for future use
- Understanding that making art is something that is yours
that also can become someone else's (art that can evoke the viewer
in a way that brings up issues that are personal, private and at the
address the artist's concerns).
Kluger-Bell, Science Educator, Exploratorium, San Francisco CA
"I can give you answers but I can't give you understanding." That's
what I have to keep telling my workshop teachers as they struggle with
their questions about the world. Understanding, connections between old
experience and new and sense made of one's experience in the world is
built by interacting with that world and reflecting on those interactions.
Exploring, raising questions, trying things out, testing ideas, observing
closely, making models and representations, talking with friends, seeking
experts and books; all of these are part of the effort to learn and to
understand. In the end, the workshop teachers may have some answers and
usually have even more questions but they realize that this process of
inquiry is the way that they can build their own understanding of the
Rogoff, Professor of Education, UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz
Inquiry? What is it? There you go.
Within my area of work -- cognitive development and learning
-- I'd emphasize that inquiry learning involves the active effort to
understand a phenomenon, event, or idea.
The purpose of inquiry learning could be pure curiosity
and fooling around, though it can also focus on seeking understanding
for solving a problem or reaching a desired goal. In either case, I assume
that the inquirer is INTERESTED in finding out.
This contrasts with many other learning situations, where
the information is not necessarily of interest to the learner; if there
is a purpose it may not be clear to the learner, and the goal of understanding
may be less emphasized than the goal of memorizing.
Although inquiry learning thus involves an active learner,
this does not mean that the learner is solitary or cannot be involved
with others who may provide leadership in the inquiry. I have the impression
that many who value inquiry learning shy away from providing leadership
in learning situations, perhaps because most of our experience has been
with teaching that is more didactic rather than providing support and
guidance in inquiry. I think that this is one of the main issues for
both schools (at all levels) and museums -- how to foster inquiry with
Anne Smith, Executive Director, California Writing Project, UC Berkeley,
Writing is both a tool for inquiry and the subject of
inquiry. On one hand, writing itself unearths new questions or understandings,
discoveries or qualifications. On the other, writing invites questions
about how writers write, about their processes, about techniques that
help them. What writers write -- their intentions, their genres, the
qualities and merits of their work -- these, too, are inquiry subjects
in the field of writing.
Inquiry is central in Writing Project professional development
where teachers come together, not as recipients of someone else's knowledge,
but as scholars whose teaching approaches merit scrutiny and debate.
Writing project teachers are themselves researchers, conducting studies
in their own classrooms and presenting them at conferences, in inservice
workshops, and through publications. Most important, however, is the
stance of Writing Project teachers. As models for their own students,
they are constantly constructing and revising, whether the construction
is a piece of writing or a classroom learning strategy.