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Abstract

Using case study method, this study examines the impact of an inquiry-based learning program among a cohort of first-semester undergraduates (n=104) at a large public university in the southeastern United States who are aspiring to become teachers. The Boyer Commission (1999) asserted that inquiry-based learning should be the foundation of higher education curricula. Even though inquiry pedagogies are emphasized in teacher education, many prospective teacher candidates have limited experience with inquiry as a constructivist practice from their K-12 settings. This study investigates the effects and first-semester undergraduates’ perceptions of an inquiry-based learning project. The research is grounded in Knowledge Building Theory (Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2006), which posits that knowledge building is comprised of three components: 1) inquiry driven questions, 2) epistemic artifacts, and 3) collective spaces for collaboration. The study found that inquiry projects had positive effects on participants’ understanding of: the complexity of educational issues; the overall inquiry process; and a future career in teaching. Using Knowledge Building Theory, the findings are discussed and analyzed to posit a conceptual model of the entire inquiry process, called the Inquiry Processing Cycle.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.