The Three Modes of Teaching

TimTaylor b

Originally posted on Imaginative-Inquiry:

Following a recent discussion after reading Lee Donaghy’s blog, ‘Building ‘abstract generalisations’ to help yr 8 write like historians’, I started to wonder if some of the disagreements we have on teaching methods are to do with a ‘misalignment’ of terms. By which I mean that we seem to have different meanings for the names we use to describe different teaching methods and confuse or conflate one with another. This seems to be particular true of ‘inquiry’ and ‘discovery’, which are often used interchangeably. To my mind they are quite different, since Discovery is about giving space to the students to find out things for themselves, whereas Inquiry is about working collaboratively with students to find out things together. Fundamentally they come from different theories of learning, Discovery is based on Piaget’s theory of Constructivism, while Inquiry is based on Vygotsky and Bruner’s theories of Social Constructivism. The similarities of the two names might be part of the cause for the confusion.

With that in mind, I started to wonder if it would be possible to create definitions we could all agree on. Ones that name the parts that constitute the different modes we generally use in the classroom (to a lesser or greater extent), which we could then refer to when discussing their merits. This blog represents an opening contribution and I am very much open to debate. Please let me know what you think…

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