Narrative Inquiry: Conversations that Reinforce My Commitment to Inquiry Based Learning

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Peter Taylor


The Critical and Creative Thinking Graduate Program has challenged me to think critically about my teaching methodology. Teaching science effectively became a focus of mine and I changed my teaching methodology to an inquiry-based model. This change required research on the inquiry approach. During this process it was realized that putting theory into practice is often a difficult task. This led me to seek out experts on inquiry-based learning. Listening to the experts’ stories about what led them to become exponents of inquiry gave me great insight that will help me with becoming an exponent as well. The stories share what exactly brought about the change into inquiry-based learning and the refinement they had to make with their teaching methodologies. Details about their daily teaching practices provide great advice that will guide me in my future plan for refining the way that I create and manage an inquiry-based classroom. Advice on how to engage children covers a wide range of educational practices. One expert who was interviewed, Paul Jablon, highlights the need for children to manipulate materials on a daily basis. He believes that children learn science better if they figure out theories and scientific phenomena by themselves first, then connect their findings with the greater scientific community. There also needs to be some sort of real world connection with learning science so children can see that they are being productive now, rather than having students feel like they are preparing to be productive later on in life. Barbara Waters shares management strategies in her interview where a teacher should provide a scientific demonstration, provide students the opportunity to discuss what they have seen and come up with an essential question about the demonstration. This will allow for students to feel that they have ownership over what they explore scientifically. The third interview explores problem-based learning and the importance of creating a classroom climate that is conducive to inquiry. Nina Greenwald lends her expertise on how to create such a climate, and how to make questions key to the learning process. The paper wraps up with my experience with inquiry-based learning and provides a detailed account of what changes I plan to make in my classroom to make it rich in inquiry. Teaching is a profession with enormous responsibility. Knowledge of this causes me to be a reflective practitioner. The Critical and Creative Thinking Program has inspired me to promote educational change. This paper has clarified the change that I will make in my classroom and the strategies presented in the paper will help to facilitate the change.


Contact for access to full text

This document is currently not available here.