Here’s a thought experiment:
Let’s say two there are two different approaches to teaching, and you need to decide which to use.
Let’s say that one approach, we’ll call it “explicit instruction “, does a better job of teaching content. Kids learn more quickly, retain learning for longer, and are more able to transfer that learning to new contexts.
Let’s say the other approach, we’ll call it “inquiry learning”, does a better job of teaching students to make sense of math. They come to believe that they are capable of figuring out new problems, are more persistent in the face of challenges, and are better able to find creative solutions.
Which approach would you choose to use? Or, perhaps a better question, what proportion of time would you use explicit instruction, and what proportion would you use inquiry learning? What factors affect your decision?
Bonus: Which of these premises do you think are true? Which are false? Which are somewhere in the middle?
I don’t think that this is an accurate characterization of explicit instruction or inquiry learning, but I do think it highlights a challenge: there are many moments when I need to make a decision that prioritizes content or sense-making. What are the relevant variables I should be considering?
This from Kent Haines on Twitter: Which method do you wish the previous year’s teacher had used?