Friday, December 10, 2010

Inquiry is the missing link

(A little caffeine can be too much!)
When I presenting on teaching evolution in Nashville, I was on a huge caffeine buzz. (When the sign on the gas station coffee says, "extra caffeine," they mean it!) I realize now that I might have left out my most important point in my presentation: Inquiry is the missing link in evolution education. Inquiry is what best allows students who resist learning about evolution to engage in looking at the evidence and how scientists explain the evidence because inquiry doesn't rely on authoritative pressure.

In typical evolution education, conflict can easily boil down to, "I'm the teacher. That settles it." Or to, "That's what scientists say. Case closed." That may not be what the teacher is saying, but it's too often what resistant students are hearing. They hear an appeal to authority, and they are ready to counter with the authorities they trust more, whether those be God, the Bible, or what their preacher or parents say. Inquiry turns the discussion away from conflicting authorities to the evidence at hand. Inquiry frees the teacher to say to resistant students, "What do you think?" about the evidence at hand or how to explain it sticking to the rules of science.

3 comments:

theexcitedneuron said...

Great thoughts. Just posted something along similar lines myself. Love your blog; will be checking frequently, as I need to be incorporating more inquiry myself.

Lee said...

So glad to hear that my blog helps, and I'm sorry to take so long to get back to you. I'm trying to get a handle on all the spam that comes in these days, and I didn't have my alerts right for real comments like yours.

4ForceMan said...

This was great. I have tried this approach, but still with limited success. Many students seem to think this is an area where facts can be discounted as "not real facts". I am starting to think some type of Pastoral education or enlightenment program needs to be enacted.