Inquiring Minds in Undergraduate Instruction: An Expression of the Teaching-Research Nexus

Inquiring Minds in Undergraduate Instruction: An Expression of the Teaching-Research Nexus

Tanya Chichekian (McGill University, Canada), Olivia (Liv) Hua (Olivia (Liv) HuaMcGill University, Canada) and Bruce M. Shore (McGill University, Canada)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 35
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3661-3.ch010

Abstract

Research-based or scholarship-based teaching is better teaching because it leads to better learning and sustained motivation. Creating a mutually supportive link between teaching and research comprises the teaching-research nexus. In this chapter, the authors address the teaching-research nexus in undergraduate education by presenting a range of initiatives for inquiry-based instructional improvement through activities that require integrated, individual, and collaborative efforts in and across disciplines. The authors present theoretical and practical arguments of the theory of social constructivism in support of a professor’s own scholarship and teaching. They also highlight the importance of changing the nature of undergraduate teaching by offering examples of how undergraduate instructors can foster inquiry-based learning in their teaching as well as ways of facilitating these approaches to teaching. To be able to connect research and teaching in students’ minds, instructors must strengthen within undergraduate students some of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that enable the development and maintenance of inquiring minds.
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Setting The Stage

The four main goals of this chapter are to:

  • 1.

    Present some of the theoretical and practical arguments for the importance of changing the nature of undergraduate teaching in the direction of inquiry, the most important of which is our contention that taking this approach adds to the quality of education by bringing the instructor’s own scholarship or research and teaching closer together in what is called the teaching-research nexus.

  • 2.

    Describe the general theory, social constructivism, that underlies inquiry instruction and enables research and teaching to be uttered in the same breath rather than regarded as separate or even competing parts of a university instructor’s professional life.

  • 3.

    Share the main elements of one instructors’ undergraduate teaching philosophy that facilitates an inquiry-based approach to teaching.

  • 4.

    Offer examples of practical advice of how undergraduate instructors can foster inquiry-based learning in their teaching (the case examples are meant to be relatively easy to implement, and suitable across a number of disciplines; although they originated in a social sciences context, extensions to other disciplines will also be made explicit).

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