Successful pedagogies for inquiry and knowledge building


Teachers’ developmental trajectories

What you will find on this page:

A Science teacher’s developmental trajectory - Ms Hidy Tse

Ms Hidy Tse was a Science teacher who has taught primary and secondary school students. She started using the knowledge building approach in teaching in year 2005-06 when her principal encouraged teachers to adopt more student-centered inquiry-oriented approaches. She has also been involved in the Knowledge Building International Program. The development and changes in Hidy’s pedagogical design throughout the five years she adopted knowledge building are discussed below.

Developmental Advancement Growth & Changes Illustrative Videos & Presentations
KB beginner As a beginner, Hidy only used Knowledge Forum as an additional medium for students to learn important scientific concepts in a more interesting way.

Year 1 pedagogical design - "Energy transformation and energy conservation"

Refined KB teaching approach Being frustrated with the limited discussion in class and on KF observed in the first year, Hidy tried to learn from experienced knowledge building teachers in KBTN and refine her pedagogical design. She attempted to make the discussion more engaging.

Year 2 pedagogical design - “Energy”

Set higher KB goals and Collaborating with overseas students Though the quality of students’ discussion had improved in the second year, some students did not participate in the discussion. Therefore, in the third year, Hidy aimed at having every student engaged in the discussion and encouraging students to take charge of their own learning. She set knowledge building goals, which were to promote learning to learn and to develop students’ ability to engage in inquiry-based learning. Also, she arranged for her students to collaborate with a class from Quebec, Canada.

Year 3 pedagogical design - “Wild space: Sustainability and water”

From secondary school to primary school In the third year, Hidy’s students managed to generate questions for inquiry and formulate their own criteria of a good discussion. Also, unlike the first two years, the students changed from only answering the teacher’s questions to answering each other’s questions. In the fourth year, Hidy transformed her knowledge building pedagogical design used with secondary school students to be used with primary school students. Through knowledge building, she aimed to improve the students’ reasoning skills through inquiry-based learning and to further develop their meta-cognitive skills through reflection.

Year 4 pedagogical design - “Global Warming and the Revelation of Tai Mo Shan”

Refined pedagogical design and Incorporating KB principles With the experience from the previous four years, Hidy has devised a pedagogical design which was effective in knowledge building and most suitable for her teaching style. Therefore, in the fifth year, she adopted a similar model in her teaching. She further refined her design and aimed at promoting idea advancement through integrating KB principles into the curriculum (e.g. rise above, community knowledge, constructive use of authoritative sources, embedded and transformative assessment). Also, she wanted to facilitate the transformation of individual ideas to community knowledge.

Year 5 pedagogical design - “Children can change the world: Poverty”

A Chinese language teacher’s developmental trajectory - Mr Tim Wong

Mr Tim Wong is a teacher of Chinese language at HKUGA Primary School. He started using the knowledge building approach in teaching in year 2009-10 when his colleagues introduced it to him. With a deeper understanding of knowledge building, Tim sees the benefits of the principle-based pedagogical design and technology over other online learning platforms. He becomes more involved in the local teacher network and ethusiastic about the approach. The development and changes in Tim’s pedagogical design throughout the three years he adopted knowledge building are discussed below.

Developmental Advancement Growth & Changes Illustrative Videos & Presentations
Encourage questions When first started, Tim aimed at developing students’ ability to generate questions and ideas. He encouraged students to raise inquiry questions and point out what they need to understand, thus to develop epistemic agency.

Year 1 pedagogical design - “Lifefighters”

Facilitate reflection In the first year, students became slightly more inclined to seek and answer questions, yet the discussion was led by Tim. In order to facilitate epistemic agency, Tim encouraged students to constantly reflect on their learning process.

Tim asked students to formulate criteria for good questions and discussions, then conduct peer assessment on the performance in online discussions. Also, students had to write reflective journals regularly to report on learning progress and their reflection.

Year 2 pedagogical design - “Hong Kong Kids”

Restructure curriculum In the second year, Tim’s students had made big improvements. They had better focus and awareness of what they were doing in their work. Also, some of those who initially were not active participants of class discussion demonstrated improvement as they gradually became more outspoken and attentive toward others’ opinions.

In the third year, Tim restructured the curriculum to connect the modules and attempted to incorporate knowledge building principles into the overall Chinese language teaching. Apart from training students’ language skills, Tim added interpersonal skills as a goal that run through the whole year. In every unit, he allowed studens to explore the core values behind the theme. These explorations do not have fixed answers, so students can openly build new knowledge about those values through collaboration.

Moreover, Tim did not follow the typical Chinese pedagogical sequence, which is to discuss the common theme of the articles when the unit is completed. Instead, students were informed of the theme at the very beginning, then the understanding of the theme was deepened through the various knowledge building activities that followed.

Apart from lesson aims, Tim also allowed students to establish their own learning goals. Therefore, student can learn the Chinese language, and also have their own space for development.

Year 3 pedagogical design - “Window of Wisdom”