When furthering my research on the long-term effects of inquiry-based science instruction, I came across an interesting study. The study was done, not on elementary students, but on first year college students. To read the full study and analysis of data go to the following link:
The study found after analyzing student’s pretest and post tests, personal interviews, etc. that students in their freshman year of college did not positively respond to the inquiry-based lab experiences. I was surprised since in every other research paper and study I have read thus far, there has been a significant increase in positive attitudes towards a more inquiry-based science curriculum. The researchers concluded that some of the students were not cognitively equipped to meet the challenges of an inquiry-based curriculum, as it was more challenging and time consuming.
I feel that since science inquiry is a relatively new teaching method that earlier generations are suffering from a lack of experience to critical thinking and problem-solving. They have grown accustomed to traditional direct-instruction teaching methods, and are unable to adapt to a more independent learning role and assume more responsibility for their learning.