One of the most widely accepted goals of social studies education is to produce knowledgeable and caring citizens. It is, therefore, imperative that students have the opportunity to participate in public issues and have a meaningful voice within their community. Students must learn how to gather information, solve problems and make civic decisions (Saxe, D. W. (1997). The distinctive mission of social studies education. In E. W. Ross (Ed.), The social studies curriculum: Purposes, problems and possibilities (pp. 39–55). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press). Thus, educators and staff in higher education institutions should encourage their students to create their own questions, cultivate investigative strategies, formulate theories and apply new concepts to their own lives in a variety of methods (Fitzsimmons, P. F., & Goldhaber, J. (1997). Siphons, pumps, and missile launchers: Inquiry at the further and higher education [online]. Edinburgh: Scottish Funding Council). Inquiry-based instruction is a pedagogical strategy that places the educator in the role of a facilitator where students are pushed to think critically and construct meaningful knowledge. Inquiry-based learning (IBL) is a crucial practice for students to grasp and the earlier they are exposed to this style of learning, the better the educational results will be in regard to cognitive development. For instance, (Frederiksen, White, & Shimoda, 1999) found that students who take part in inquiry-based learning outperform those students in traditional classrooms on standardised assessments. This chapter explores a theoretical discussion of IBL and a subsequent theory of change focusing on the potential desired impact on the student learning experience in Irish higher education.
The core themes include the following:
How educators in the social sciences conceptualise, design and facilitate IBL?
The location and commencement of the development of an IBL ‘mind-set’.
Informal theories of change in the social sciences, and a discussion on disciplinary patterns and the discernation of differences.
What have educators learned about designing and facilitating IBL? The challenges of designing and facilitating IBL, in the social sciences.
Plans for further developing IBL practice in an international context.
Prendergast, A. (2014), "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", 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. 429-447. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2055-364120140000002026
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