Inquiry-Based Learning for the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences: A Conceptual and Practical Resource for Educators

ISBN: 978-1-78441-237-1, eISBN: 978-1-78441-236-4

ISSN: 2055-3641

Publication date: 5 December 2014


(2014), "Foreword", Inquiry-Based Learning for the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences: A Conceptual and Practical Resource for Educators (Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning, Vol. 2), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. xv-xvi.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014 Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Students tend to take one of three basic approaches to their learning. Some will simply try to survive the academic experience. These surface learners will often focus only on memorizing correct answers. Others will put all of their heart into making the highest grade possible, and these strategic learners will often do anything to achieve their goal. But neither the surface nor strategic approach tends to have much sustained and substantial influence on the way students will subsequently think, act, or feel.

Strategic learners strive almost exclusively for good grades, and because that is what they seek, they often appear on the Dean’s list and we celebrate their achievements. But we also know that such learners have some major limitations. They tend not to be risk-takers who pursue their own curiosity. They tend to learn procedurally, but not conceptually. As a result, they seldom develop into adaptive experts who are good at solving new kinds of problems.

Only those who intend to understand deeply, to connect new learning to old, and to think about implications and applications are likely to achieve meaningful results from their education. Only these deep learners are likely to become productive and creative individuals, adaptive experts able to tackle unusual problems and invent new solutions and insights.

Intentions play a powerful role in determining the outcome of learning. But how can educators influence those intentions. Over the last 20 years, within the Best Teachers Institute that I lead, we have looked at the practices of educators who have had enormous success in fostering deep learning, and we have found that they create a special kind of learning environment for their students. We call this environment a Natural Critical Learning Environment. It has 15 elements:

  1. They are trying to answer questions or solve problems they find intriguing, important or beautiful.

  2. They can try, fail, receive feedback, and try again before anyone makes a judgment of (grades) their work.

  3. They can collaborate with other learners struggling with the same problems.

  4. They can speculate even before they know anything.

  5. They face repeated challenges to their existing fundamental paradigms.

  6. They can get support (emotional, physical, and intellectual assistance) whey they need it.

  7. They care that their existing paradigms do not work.

  8. They feel in control of their own learning, not manipulated.

  9. They believe that their work will be considered fairly and honestly.

  10. They believe that their work will matter.

  11. They believe that intelligence and abilities are expandable, that if they work hard, they will get better at it.

  12. They believe other people have faith in their ability to learn.

  13. They believe that they can learn.

  14. They have a chance to do the discipline before they fully know the discipline, learning the basic information while they engage in problem-solving, analyzing, synthesizing, evaluating, and theory-making.

  15. They can learn inductively rather than deductively, moving from the specific to the general rather than the general to the specific.

Powerful educational experiences have created this kind of environment in a variety of ways. One of the most successful has come in the form of inquiry-based learning. The book you hold in your hand explores inquiry-based learning and the ways in which they create powerful Natural Critical Learning Environments.

Ken Bain

Inquiry-Based Learning for the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences: A Conceptual and Practical Resource for Educators
Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning
Inquiry-Based Learning for the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences: A Conceptual and Practical Resource for Educators
Copyright Page
List of Contributors
Series Editor’s Introduction
Innovative Approaches in Teaching and Learning: An Introduction to Inquiry-Based Learning for the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
Investigating the Role of an Inquiry-Based Approach to Learning
A First-Year Social Sciences Inquiry Course: The Interplay of Inquiry and Metacognition to Enhance Student Learning
Inquiry-Based Learning for Language Learning: The Case of French Advanced Level at the University of Manchester (UK)
Inquiry-Based Learning for Interprofessional Education
Historical Detectives at Work: A Casebook Approach to Guided-Inquiry for Undergraduate Learning
Inquiry-Based Teaching and Learning in Counseling Ethics Education
Changing Landscapes of Education: Teaching Architecture through Inquiry-Based Approaches
Using Inquiry-Based Learning to Identify Issues and Develop Pedagogical Awareness of Teaching with Technology: A Self-Study from a Pre-Service Teacher Education Class
Five Elements Leading to Better Learning Environments: Case Yrityslabra
A Study of Inquiry-Based Learning in Action: An Example from a First-Year Marketing Principles Course
Can Practical Wisdom be Taught in Business Schools? An Inquiry-Based Learning Approach for Management Education
Growing Teachers for a New Age: Nurturing Constructivist, Inquiry-Based Teaching
Aesthetic Education and Discover New York: Inquiry, the Arts and Civic Engagement
Extending Inquiry-Based Education in Creative Disciplines through Assessment
Using Inquiry-Based Learning to Teach Additional Languages in a High School Context
Making Historians Digitally: Social Bookmarking and Inquiry-Based Learning in History in Higher Education in the UK
Making the Case for Inquiry-Based Teaching in an Economics Curriculum
The Feasibility of Inquiry-Based Learning – An Irish Perspective. Exploring the Role and Motivation of Inquiry-Based Learning in Social Studies – An Irish Higher Education Experience
Developing an Improving Stance Toward Research in Preservice Teachers
About the Authors
Author Index
Subject Index