Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics: Models, Methods, and Effectiveness for Higher Education

Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics: Models, Methods, and Effectiveness for Higher Education

Inquiry-based learning (IBL) is a paradigm for education that puts primary responsibility for sense-making on the learner. The instructor takes on the roles of coach, cheerleader, and mentor, and manages the learning environment through careful questioning and task setting. An IBL approach may manifest itself in a variety of ways depending on the context, but the common theme is that students are engaged in doing mathematics the way professionals do: conjecturing, experimenting, solving problems, and making arguments. The presenters shall share the philosophy behind this approach, a variety of classroom implementations of the ideas, and evidence for the effectiveness of IBL. Participants will engage in activities aimed at preparing for an IBL class in their setting, see some classroom video of IBL in action, and discuss the opportunities for and challenges of using IBL methods.

These slides were used as part of a two-day IBL workshop that was facilitated by Dana C. Ernst and Theron Hitchman as part of the Workshop on Innovations in Higher Education Mathematics Teaching that took place at Cardiff University on July 8-9, 2014.

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Dana Ernst

July 08, 2014
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Transcript

  1. Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics: Models, Methods, & Effectiveness for Higher

    Education Dana C. Ernst, Northern Arizona University Theron J. Hitchman, University of Northern Iowa http://danaernst.com http://www.uni.edu/theron/ Workshop on Innovations in Higher Education Mathematics Teaching Cardiff University, 7–9 July 2014 D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 1 / 27
  2. Introductory Questions Introductory Questions Introductory Questions D.C. Ernst and TJ

    Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 2 / 27
  3. Question One Why are we here? D.C. Ernst and TJ

    Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 3 / 27
  4. Question One: Sharper Version From a learner’s perspective, what is

    the purpose of continuing to study past secondary school? D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 4 / 27
  5. Question Two What are the goals of a university education?

    D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 5 / 27
  6. Question Three Information is very free and open these days.

    Given that one can read and study on one’s own, what is the point of going to university? D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 6 / 27
  7. Question Four What do you reasonably expect that your students

    will remember from your courses 20 years later? D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 7 / 27
  8. Question Five How does a person learn something new? D.C.

    Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 8 / 27
  9. Question Six How should a course of study be structured

    to facilitate learning? D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 9 / 27
  10. Question Seven What are the potential pitfalls? What challenges do

    we face in building a community where we all engage in collaborative inquiry? Specifically: What barriers would a newcomer encounter that might make them leave such a group? D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 10 / 27
  11. Question Eight How do we create a safe space, so

    that we can all engage in the process with minimum psychological damage? D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 11 / 27
  12. What is IBL? What is IBL? What is IBL? D.C.

    Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 12 / 27
  13. The Big Picture If we really want students to be

    independent, inquisitive, & persistent, then we need to provide them with the means to acquire these skills. If we really want students to be independent, inquisitive, & persistent, then we need to provide them with the means to acquire these skills. If we really want students to be independent, inquisitive, & persistent, then we need to provide them with the means to acquire these skills. D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 13 / 27
  14. What is inquiry-based learning (IBL)? • According to the Academy

    of Inquiry-Based Learning: • IBL is a teaching method that engages students in sense-making activities. • Students are given tasks requiring them to solve problems, conjecture, experiment, explore, create, & communicate. • Rather than showing facts and/or algorithms, the instructor guides students via well-crafted problems. • Often involves very little lecturing, and typically involves student presentations. • Example: Modified Moore Method, after R.L. Moore. • Students should as much as possible be responsible for: • guiding the acquisition of knowledge and, • validating the ideas presented. (Students should not be looking to the instructor as the sole authority.) D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 14 / 27
  15. Guiding Principle of IBL Continually ask yourself the following question:

    Where do I draw the line between content I must impart to my students versus content they can produce independently? Where do I draw the line between content I must impart to my students versus content they can produce independently? Our Main Objective How do we get here? Students answering questions Students asking questions Where do I draw the line between content I must impart to my students versus content they can produce independently? D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 15 / 27
  16. Two Typical Approaches/Modes to IBL 1. Student presentations. 2. Small

    group work. Most IBL instructors implement some combination. Important Role Changes • Instructor becomes a mentor, cheerleader, and coach. Focus on teaching process. • Student becomes the mathematician. D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 16 / 27
  17. IBL vs Presentations/Group Work • Student presentations & group work

    act as vehicles for IBL. • Yet student presentations & group do not imply IBL. • What matters is what is happening during these activities. IBL vs Inverted/Flipped Pedagogy • IBL/Moore Method is an instructional practice. • The flipped classroom is: • A platform, not an instructional practice. • Centered around the idea of removing some/all of the information transfer tasks outside of class & replacing the time that’s freed up with whatever instructor feels is appropriate. • IBL and flipped learning (see R. Talbert’s talk) are compatible. D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 17 / 27
  18. Are you doing IBL? • Who develops the mathematics which

    is discussed? • Who presents the mathematics? • Who critiques the mathematics once presented? • Who decides what is correct mathematics? • Who asks the questions that drive further work? D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 18 / 27
  19. Why IBL? Why IBL? Why IBL? D.C. Ernst and TJ

    Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 19 / 27
  20. One minute version of why IBL • Our system needs

    an upgrade. • Unintended negative outcomes via traditional methods. • Research suggests IBL outcomes are better. “Things my students claim that I taught them masterfully, they dont know.” – Dylan Retsek “Things my students claim that I taught them masterfully, they dont know.” – Dylan Retsek “Things my students claim that I taught them masterfully, they dont know.” – Dylan Retsek D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 20 / 27
  21. My IBL origins • When I started teaching, I mimicked

    the experiences I had as a student (i.e., I lectured). • By most metrics, I was a successful teacher (e.g., high evaluations, several awards). Why change? • Inspired by a Project NExT Workshop run by Carol Schumacher (Kenyon College), I decided to give IBL a try. • For 3 consecutive semesters, I taught an intro to proof course at Plymouth State University. • 1st two iterations taught via lecture-based approach. • 3rd time taught using IBL with emphasis on collaboration. • When I taught an abstract algebra course containing students from both styles, anecdotal evidence suggested students taught via IBL were stronger proof-writers & more independent as learners. • I was sold from that moment on. D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 21 / 27
  22. Some Data • 2010: 3.7 million students in secondary school.

    • 2010: 52% of those go to University. • 2013: 38% of the UK population had a degree. • 2010: 16,000 people started a PhD. Conclusion? Education is a self-populating institution! You are peculiar! You are peculiar! We need to renormalize. You are peculiar! D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 22 / 27
  23. What is happening in STEM education? • There exists a

    growing body of evidence suggesting students are dissatisfied with learning experiences in STEM. • Math Education Research suggests that college students have difficulty with: • Solving non-routine problems, • Packing/Unpacking mathematical statements, • Proof. Schoenfeld 1988, Muis 2004, Selden and Selden 1995/1999/2003, Dreyfus 2001, Sowder and Harel 2003, Weber 2001/2003, Weber and Alcock 2004, Tall 1994 D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 23 / 27
  24. Talking About Leaving • About half of STEM majors switch

    to non-STEM. • Top 4 reasons for switching are teaching related. • Good ones leave, too. • Loss of interest. • Curriculum overload. • Students dissatisfied with teaching of STEM classes and less so with non-STEM. • Weed-out culture. E. Seymour, N.M. Hewitt. Talking about leaving: Why undergraduates leave the sciences. Westview Press, 1997. D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 24 / 27
  25. The Good News Evidence from the math ed literature suggests

    that active, learner-centered instruction leads to improved conceptual understanding, problem solving, proof writing, retention, habits of mind, and attitudes about math. Boaler 1998, Kwon et al. 2005, Rassmussen et al. 2006, Smith 2006, Chappell 2006, Larsen et al. 2011/2013/2014, etc. D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 25 / 27
  26. The Colorado Study by Sandra Laursen et al. • Quasi-experimental

    study: Data include 300 hours of classroom observation, 1100 surveys, 110 interviews, 220 tests, and 3200 academic transcripts, gathered from > 100 course sections at 4 campuses over 2 years. • Statistically significant advantages for students in IBL vs traditional courses. IBL Interviews SALG Pre/Post Tests Transcripts Gender Observations Non-IBL D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 26 / 27
  27. The Twin Pillars 1. Deep engagement in rich mathematics, 2.

    Opportunities to collaborate. Laursen et al. 2013 “Our study indicates that the benefits of active learning experiences may be lasting and significant for some student groups, with no harm done to others. Importantly, covering less material in inquiry-based sections had no negative effect on students’ later performance in the major.” Laursen et al. 2014 “Despite variation in how IBL was implemented, student outcomes are improved in IBL courses relative to traditionally taught courses, as assessed by general measures that apply across course types. Particularly striking, the use of IBL eliminates a sizable gender gap that disfavors women students in lecture-based courses.” D.C. Ernst and TJ Hitchman Inquiry-Based Education in Mathematics 27 / 27