Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 2 of Guided Inquiry in the 21st Century!

On June 8, we met for our second class session of Guided Inquiry in the 21st Century at UMF.  It was a great class!  Our focus so far has been on inquiry teams and units.  The model we are using requires collaboration between teachers.  Most team members are participating in the class, but some have other members.

One, if not the, key component in inquiry - teacher delivery and student participation - is collaboration - specifically collaborative reasoning as defined by Reznitskaya and Anderson 2002.

“Collaborative Reasoning has a format that is useful for deepening conceptual understanding.  Collaborative Reasoning discussions do not foster reading consensus.  Instead, this discussion model requires students to seriously consider multiple perspectives on a text they have read and then engage in a thoughtful dialogue.  The discussions have an open participation structure; that is, students are expected to communicate freely.  According to Richard Anderson, “Reasoning is fundamentally dialogical.  Thinkers must hear several voices within their own heads representing different perspectives on the issue.  The ability and disposition to take more than one perspective arises from participating in discussions with others who hold different perspectives.”

Mercer, 2000, targeted collaborative reasoning as the key component for assisting learners in developing their ability to create, what he refers to as, “inner thinking” - around any information they are accessing (Graves (1990) labeled “the other self”).  This inner thinking leads to effective collaboration – without it, collaboration often dead ends resulting in no new ideas.  Here collaboration means forming new ideas - not concensus.

This type of thinking is necessary for the information flood our students - and all 21st century digital citizens - will need in the 21st century.

Kuhthlau, along with the authors of the BIG 6, identify the process of objective, diverse thinking as the biggest challenge for information problem solving (collaborative reasoning).  

As part of our focus on collaborative reasoning, we have partnered with the Jakarta World Academy in Jakarta, Indonesia.  Tuesday, we skyped with the principal, Bruce Ashton, and began to put a plan together for the upcoming year.  We hope to reflect on our own collaborative process in order to clarify our teaching of collaborative reasoning for students.  This is a relatively new area and we are eager to share what we learn and start a dialog with others.

The last part of the day, we networked with each other and compiled a list of internet resources for use in our projects.

WOW!  It was incredible.  It's as if each teacher is a synapse in this huge brain and we are connecting - formulating these new understandings and ideas!  

Stay Tuned!

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