Education free essay: Critical Review of Origins and Aims of the Concept of a Community of Enquiry
Critical Review of Origins and Aims of the Concept of a Community of Enquiry
An education Community of Enquiry (CofE) is an academic model of assessment that employs various educational and social aspects of a learning environment to bring out issues in a learning system. According to Lipman (2003, p20), various tools of assessment and analysis are incorporated in the procedure including “…questioning, reasoning, connecting, deliberating, challenging and delivering problem solving techniques…” According to the author, a group of individuals interested in unravelling how various aspects of the environment in which learning takes place engage in a critical and reflective dissection of the overall chance of successful meeting of education objectives.
In light of the approach employed by the specific community, the end product of the analysis is a consultative, collaborative and constructive picture of the situation of education factors. According to the author, the idea of formulating such an analysis might have been the idea of the 19th century science philosopher known as Charles Sanders Pierce. In its original format, the idea was developed for the scientists’ community but modification to fit in other fields of interests such as education is a tenable and practical extrapolation. Earliest attempts to incorporate the education system of the idea were instituted by educationist John Dewey (Lipman 2003, p21).
The model manifests a clear attempt to involve two elements of the human society that hold the key to finding a challenge and designing a solution for the same in any aspect of its organization. These elements are “community” and “Enquiry” which literary implies that the community’s aspect in question has a presenting challenge that can be resolved by forming an Enquiry that thoroughly interrogates the underlying factors causing the challenge. Based from the original applications, education applications can be designed to incorporate certain tenets of academic settings which employ the social constructs of learning and education. A reflective approach of the entire package of education intricacies identifies links such as participative nature of education, teacher central role in learning, knowledge disciplines play very vital role in learning, education is a process and that education depends on the relationships between the student, teacher and environment (Lipman 2003, p19).
It therefore follows that the aims of the community of Enquiry are to engage the education experience in a system in a consultative and reflective approach to identify its keeping in touch with basic requirements of learning. According to Teaching and Learning Centre (2007, p1), the links that the CofE endeavours to establish include presence of elements of social, cognitive and teaching media which ensure an all rounded learning experience. TLC further enumerates the aims of the CofE to include identification of the necessary input that encourages education from the involved stakeholders. Among the necessary inputs, the learning experience should have elements of a supportive discourse, a conducive environment as well as appropriate content in the syllabi.
Typical Structure Outline, Principles and Practices in Supporting Learning in a Community of Enquiry
Using the above foundational explanations of the origin and aims of the CofE concept, the basic structure can be formulated to include three main areas of emphasis. Besides the main communication medium aspects, the appropriate input needed can be formulated easily from the marked necessities of the overlapping needs. To capture the most important learning areas which are social, teaching and cognitive aspects of the Education Experience (E.E), the design takes care of the main learning needs of an education system. In Figure 1 below, the communication medium developed to highlight the various trajectories involved in the learning process are the main design pillars from which the model is formulated. From the design, creation of a relational necessity plan generates the appropriate requirements of the overlapping stakeholders’ input. These inputs so generated are highlighted below Figure 1. The Teaching and Learning Centre explains that the social presence involves the actual communication in a free manner such that there is some level of trust between the participants and the assessment community team. Individual personalities are usually taken care of by the community carrying out the assessment to find out how social aspects are manifested in the system teaching presence usually identifies if the participants actually make meaning out of the teaching imparted by the system and in what ways. Cognitive presence is assessed in the participating class by establishing if the learnt outcomes can be used to confirm the obtained meaning of the education objectives (Anderson, Archer and Garrison 2000, p133).
Figure1: Adopted from Teaching and Learning Centre, 2007.
The above design is designed in such a reflective mode that will facilitate the identification of the three basic learning areas flanked by the below explained inputs from the stakeholders. CofE establishes the existence of the communication medium linked in the above connection between the distinct areas of learning.
Inputs in segment 1: setting up a conducive environment fro learning in terms of social support from the teaching staff. Teacher student relations should facilitate delivery of education content in a flowing manner. Inputs in segment 2: supportive discourse targeting cognitive growth for the students should be facilitated by social practices. Inputs in segment 3: the effective syllabi should facilitate learning by designing it in a manner likely to encompass relevant and appropriate content.
Making reference to relevant literature, critically analyse how the values underpinning the process and pedagogy of community of enquiry impact upon your professional practice and current policy in your organization
In almost every environment, the main pillars of leaning are expected to be prevailing in all aspects of the teacher, student and learning environment interactions. According to Ling (2007, p154), even higher learning scenario is a representation of the same constructs of education requirements. According to the author, CofE quality of an education system as complicated as a computer mediated communication would still perfectly fit in the postulates of the design that takes care of basic education principles. It therefore follows that the appropriate policy formulation in an education system must be informed from the basic tenets of a good education and learning design. From an analytical perspective of the application of the design in the education sector, it is possible to identify certain work environment issues on which the design and its policies form an important interaction.
In the education sector, the work environment with respect to the interaction it would make with the model of CofE, there are several issues that come into play. Perhaps the most important aspect of the learning environment is the social interaction that the must come to terms with. The universality of the school environment ensures that the constructs of the CofE model cut across the divide to translate to similar conditions for all the cases (Lipman 2003, p1). According to the author, the need for educators to employ critical thinking in the manner in which they operate the policy formulation for the sector is very important. Judgement for the formulation of the appropriate policies directly finds strength in a clear dissection of the social perspective of the sector. Due to the sensitivity of the social impact of the working environment in any organization, human resources can only achieve the best results if an analysis of the enabling factors is performed in advance. From such an analysis, the management and leadership of the organization can then formulate such policies that would facilitate maximum performance.
Reflective thinking as involved in CofE helps in designing a social setting that takes into consideration all the factors that an optimum environment of performance would created. By formulating a social framework where both the teachers and students relate appropriately to promote free interactions, education objectives will be achieved. In contemplation of the underlying social factors, reflective thinking in the education environment would assist the participants to avoid bias and self deception regarding their role in effective communication backed by effective social practices (Lipman 2003, p26). According to the author, reflective thinking incorporates the subject matter in a way that assists in identifying the issues at hand in the system and formulates possible tenable solutions to assist in formulation of the appropriate breakthrough. Discussions are engaged in deeply critiquing approach that assists the payers to find loopholes in the system and go further to come with solutions.
An example of a social setting challenge that the education system would identify with the effective CofE engagement is lack of freedom of communication between the students and the teachers (Anderson, Archer and Garrison 2000, p13). By dissecting such an environmental concern in the institutional practices, it will be possible to identify the costs of poor communication systems. After analysing the real problems occasioned by the poor communication, the CofE will deliberate possible practices that will enhance institutional policy formulation to boost the necessary element in communication and relations. It will be identified for instance that with improved communication, students can easily approach the teachers in a consultative manner where grave challenges are identified and corrected thus improving individual performance of the students.
Besides, by lacking in appropriate social culture between the students and the teachers, there is a grave concern in the manner in which cognitive development takes place since the teacher fails to assist in imparting the necessary interactive skills for cognition. With lack of appropriate supporting discourse among the teachers and the students following failed social presence, the environment severely impacts on the cognitive presence. In terms of cognition, the necessary contribution of social principles should ensure that the students not only understand the taught education content but can put in required applications. Teaching environment should therefore ensure that the appropriate learning outcomes are achieved by the individual students in a clear manner.
It does not only affect the student education experience only if the appropriate environment is not available. For the teachers and the administrators in the education system, social interactions are necessary in alleviation of teacher work-burnouts. Where the pressure to deliver is massively launched against the teacher who does not have the necessary mechanics, it is obviously difficult to deliver. It is therefore a policy formulation level issue to ensure that the appropriate education experience exists between the teachers and the students (Moseley 2005, p163). When the working environment is conducive for the various players in the system, the burden to deliver results becomes easier and shifted away from their paths. The most important element of any undertaking is the delivery of results which must be facilitated from all perspectives in consideration of the necessary reflections of the scenarios.
Carrying Out a Community of Enquiry in the Workplace
To carry out a CofE at the workplace, the entire organization is dissected in a manner that will facilitate the identification of the three main areas outlined earlier on and ensure that projecting elements are handled in an outward manner (Van Schie 2008, p1). According to the author, to carry out such an activity inside the organization, the organizational practices are modified to fit in the original design formulated by Charles Sanders Pierce. From the basic tenets of the organizational operations, it is easy to define the program for the CofE with regard to the objectives of improvement of education. It is easy to postulate the design of the CofE informed by the intention of finding loopholes in the system and the eventual formulation of appropriate solutions.
In the initial stage of the assessment, the community is composed for interrogation of the participating group. Upon formulation of the assessment program highlighting each of the main areas, the organization is internalized with respect to the structure. Under establishment of the teaching presence, instruction design may be visited to assess the issues involved such as the curriculum, the teaching design methods, teaching targets, standards and scaffolding. Another elopement of teaching that can be visited for analysis is how discourse is facilitated in the teaching and content delivery (Mezirow and Taylor, 2009 p34). The participants must also be assessed for elements of direct instruction that the systems employs to facilitate direct and simple learning. An important element of direct instruction and learning feature of the system is use of discussion, question segment, direct feedback, contributions and technical support to the students learning experience. The end result of assessing the teaching capacity of the system should interrogate students on the level of their interaction with the teaching experience to reveal how the design supports discourse and interactive learning as well as direct instruction delivery.
With regard to assessment of the cognitive presence, the CofE will be highlighting areas such as triggering event for cognitive learning, such puzzlement in delivered content as well as assistance for collaborative learning. The system should be assessed for its facilitation of explorative learning such as divergent delivery of content, exchange of information, availability suggestion channelling, brainstorming sessions and inference drawing. In the same approach for cognitive assessment, the system will be dissected on its keeping in touch with integration factors such as convergence of ideas, creative creation of solutions and connecting them with reflection and interaction (Van Schie 2008, p1). Finally, cognition will have to be assessed for resolution elements where it will be established if new ideas are applied in the learning, availed solutions will be tested for applicability with modern needs as well as check for defending capacity of the solutions by the system. The third element of the education experience that the participants have will be assessed by establishing how tenable the social presence manifests itself.
Emotional expression such as humour and self disclosure and emoticons application in the learning experience will be assessed. Group cohesion and its sustainability will be assessed since the learning experience is a socially defined process. Application of tools such as asking, referring, agreement, complimenting, quoting, continuing threads and entertaining different arguments will imply the level of social intuition imparted by the system. In light of such a system analysis, open communication and how the system entertains its usage are also determined. Elements of communication such as salutation, vocatives and inclusion will determine the amount of communication freedom that the learners have in the system. It must be established if there are elements of ownership of space and presence of safety from the developed culture and style of communication. A winning experience must demonstrate.
P4C in the CofE
According to Citric Technology (2010, p1) Philosophy for Children (P4C) is a powerful tool employed to initiate children to think critically and deeply. It is usually applied to facilitate creation of helpful critiquing approach for appropriate learning in the young brains from their early education stages (Dewey 1902, p12). Level One Society for the Advancement of Philosophical Enquiry and Reflection in Education (SAPERE) training provides a consultative model that enables training children to think openly and in a diverse way. Alongside this training, there is another type of training called Independent Thinking that facilitate the implementation of the philosophy.
Adopting the Independent Thinking Limited approach featured by Citric Technology (2010, p1), an example set of questions for use in P4C known as Thucks is formulated. As contained in Appendix 1, the Thucks questions included for stimulation of critical thinking are from a wide range of topics to provoke deep thinking.
Anderson, T. & Garrison, D. R. (2003) E-Learning in the 21stCentury: A Framework for Research and Practice. London, UK: Routledge Publishers
Anderson, T., Archer, W. & Garrison, D., (2000) “Critical Enquiry in a Text-Based Environment: Computer Conferencing in Higher Education,” Internet and Higher Education, vol. 2 no. 2-3 pp.87–105
Anderson, T., Archer, W. & Garrison, D., (2000) “Critical Enquiry In A Text-Based Environment: Computer Conferencing in Higher Education,” Internet and Higher Education, vol. 11 no. 2 pp.1-14
Citric Technology, (2010) “Philosophy for Children,” [online] Independent Thinking Ltd. Available from: <http://www.independentthinking.co.uk/What/Special+Projects/P4C/default.aspx> [accessed 3 May 2011]
Dewey, J. (1902). The Child and the Curriculum. Chicago, IL; University of Chicago Press.
Ling, L. H. (2007) “Community of Enquiry in an Online Undergraduate Information Technology Course,” Journal of Information Technology Education, vol. 6 no.1 p.153-168
Lipman, M. (2003). Thinking in Education. (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Mezirow, J. & Taylor, E. W. (2009) Transformative learning in practice: insights from community, workplace and higher education. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons
Moseley, D. (2005) Frameworks for thinking: a handbook for teaching and learning. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press
Van Schie, J. (2008) “The Idea is that Different Presences are Described in a More Concrete Way when Moving Away From the Kernel,” [online] Available from <http://communitiesofinquiry.com/files/concept-map.gif> [accessed 3 May 2011]
- Is there more future or past?
- Is black a colour?
- If I switch the lights off does the wall change colour?
- Can you cast a shadow into a dark room?
- In a dark room what does a mirror reflect?
- Can you touch the wind?
- Can you touch a rainbow?
- Is a broken down car parked?
- Is there more happiness or sadness in the world?
- Can you feel happy and sad at the same time?
- If I read a comic in a shop without paying for it is that stealing?
- If I swap your pen for one exactly the same without telling you is that stealing?
- If I pick up your pen by mistake and put it in my bag is it stealing?
- If you ask me if I have your pen and I say no because I don’t think I have, is that lying?
- If we borrow every single book from a library is it still a library?
- If we move the entire school and everything and everybody in it to Africa would it still be the same school?
- If we took the school building and moved it to the other side of town but left the people and things exactly where they were, where would the school be?
- Does lined paper weigh more than blank paper?
- Is it ever OK to cheat?
- Was Perseus a cheat in the labyrinth?
(P4C adopted from www.independentthinking.co.uk/Cool+Stuff/Thunks/default.aspx)
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