EXPLICIT LEARNING VIDEO provides video explanation of the Guided and Independent Investigation lesson segment.
PROFESSIONAL LEARNING RESOURCE provides down-loadable written explanation of the Guided and Independent Investigation lesson segment.
LEADING A PROFESSIONAL LEARNING SESSION provides a script and agenda for a teacher to use to lead participants (including parents!) through the Guided and Independent Investigation lesson segment.
An investigation is guided when someone is guiding the child through the investigation process. The child may or may not be developing any understanding of the concept during the guided investigation. The aim of the guided investigation is to teach the child the process they will be using when they are ready to investigate the concept independently. It is during independent investigation that children develop their deep understanding and meta-language to explain their understanding.
Children may engage in the same investigation over many lessons, investigating at higher levels as their understanding develops. In this way, children do not have to learn a new way to investigate every day. Many children who engage in different ‘activities’ each day, spend much of their learning the activity, to the detriment of learning the mathematical concept. By investigating is the same way each day, the focus of their learning will be on the mathematical concept! The children will investigate the concept at higher and higher levels as their understanding develops.
Some children will take longer than others to understand the process they will be using to investigate independently. When each child is ready to investigate independently at just beyond their current level of understanding, they will begin, while you continue to guide the children who are not yet ready to investigate independently. These children do not need to be taken away from the other children, or have an adult sitting with them. The children who are investigating independently will simply ignore you as you continue to guide the children through the investigation process. If they forget part of the process, they can pause and listen to you for a moment, then return to their independent investigation. No child needs to sit with an adult if they are investigating at just beyond their current level of understanding. Every child can investigate independently once they understand the process they will follow. Sitting with a small group of children sends out unintended messages to the children in the group – that they are not smart enough to investigate independently, that they need an adult with them to learn, that they don’t have to listen and learn with the rest of the class, because you will teach them separately later. This unintended hidden curriculum creates dependent learners, slows down learning and creates shallow learning resulting in children forgetting from one lesson to the next what they have ‘learned’.
When every child is investigating independently at just beyond their current level of understanding the teacher is now free to observe and question every child – developing explicit knowledge of every child’s understanding. Children who are investigating at different levels may be sitting side-by-side. They may be sharing their developing understanding of the concept. Both children are investigating the same concept, or an essential related concept, at different levels. The conceptual understanding is the same, only the level of understanding is different.