Carts and horses

Filling the pail

I have been worrying recently about engagement. A few things have come together. Firstly, David Didau wrote an excellent post on the topic that made me think. Then, following my piece on explicit instruction in The Conversation, a Sydney radio show broadcast a report on inquiry learning. In this report, inquiry learning was promoted by its ed school advocates as raising student engagement, particularly in science subjects. I have also been reading an excellent book by Eric Kalenze that attempts to diagnose the problems in American public education. Eric uses the metaphor of a funnel that is upside down. I am going to talk about carts and horses.

The logic that I wish to refute is as follows:

1. Inquiry approaches are more engaging than explicit instruction

2. Greater engagement leads to greater learning

3. Therefore, inquiry approaches lead to greater learning

I think this is the logic behind the…

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