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Promoting Inquiry-based Science Education

by R. G. Chandler "Chad" Nunamaker, William A. Mosier, and Gabriela Pickett
November/December 2017
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/promoting-inquiry-based-science-education/5023838/

Inquiry-based science education is an expanding area of interest for early childhood professionals. Unfortunately, many early educators do not receive formal training in the developmentally appropriate implementation of inquiry-based science education (Broderick & Hong, 2005; Hamlin & Wisneski, 2012). Some early childhood professionals may suggest that the best way to promote inquiry learning is through asking questions of students. In some cases, these so-called “inquiry-based” lessons focus on asking the right questions or on students getting the right answers. During early childhood development, it is important to remember that the process is more important than the product, especially when engaging in inquiry learning. How can educators support the development of inquiry without the “inquisition”?

Use Modeling to Ask Questions

The power of modeling, vicarious learning, and social learning as tools for teaching are foundational ideas in the field of early childhood (Bandura, 1976; Vygotsky, 1978). Similarly, foundational work in early childhood development emphasizes the importance of autonomy and initiative (Erikson, 1993; Piaget & Inhelder, 1969). The tendency to be egocentric and, at the same time, striving for mastery are two inborn aspects of early childhood development (Erikson, 1994). The overly directive behavior of teachers, such as the incessant asking of close-ended ...

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