Dr. Nouredine Zettili, Professor of Physics Jacksonville State University AL, USA has been visited to KSA, to deliver a seminar on Sunday 31st October 2010 at KFUPM Dammam. It was very interesting to attend a Seminar given by Prof. Nouredine Zettili, the seminar was on : “Guided-Inquiry in Teaching”. Mr Abdul Majeed, who's a volunteer of Education and Coordinator CIGI International & President Dammam Chapter, Working with King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Dhahran, had made small discussion with Dr Nourudin Zettil below is the excerpt:
Prof. Nouredine Zettili
Q1: Could You Kindly Explain What is Guided Enquiry?
A1: Guided Inquiry in teaching is a method which is intended to empower the students to become independent learners through an inquiry process under minimal guidance from their teachers. It allows the students to learn with understanding. In essence, the student is viewed as an active and independent inquirer-a seeker of information, a researcher, and a problem solver.
Q2: What are the Circumstances You Developed the Methodology of Guided Enquiry?
A2: I have been using Guided inquiry in my lectures and labs for a number of years now. The understanding and performance of the students are distinctly and measurably better than when I was using the traditional, direct instruction method. Students are actively involved in the learning process and focus on real understanding rather than on memorization and rote learning.
Q3: What Are the Main Advantages of this Method?
A3: The main advantages of the Guided-Inquiry method are many fold. First, it enables the students to be active participants in acquiring and constructing their own knowledge, for they take possession and ownership of the entire learning process. Second, it empowers the students to become experienced learners and independent inquirers and researchers from High School to the university. Additionally, it teaches the students the necessary skills of critical thinking, communication, debate, team work, and collaboration.
Q4: How it Differ From Traditional Lecturing Method?
A4: Within the traditional lecturing method, the students are treated as passive agents whose main task is to verify the claims of others. This process teaches the students conformity and deference or submission to authority. This method can be boring and inhibits creativity, motivation, and independence. In short, research indicates that teaching by telling does not work for most students. Knowledge is personal; students learn best when they are actively involved in constructing their own understanding and when they are doing things (hands-on activities, critical thinking, and logical reasoning) rather than being told.
Q5: Some of Your Personal Experiences in Teaching?
A5: I have been teaching physics at the university level for about 22 years now. In addition to that, I have been serving for about 9 years as the principal investigator, project writer and director of a project that has been funded by the US federal government. This project is intended to bring the preparation of high school physics teachers in alignment with state, national, and international standards so that every student receives high quality instruction from knowledgeable, well-trained, and well-supported teachers. Through this project, we have been offering training to high school physics teachers to help them teach physics in an inquiry based setting and to bring technology into physics classrooms.
Q6: How It Will Affect Poor Performing Students?
A6: Guided-inquiry instruction is highly effective for successful and for weak students alike. Weak students find it particularly beneficial for it allows them to focus on understanding and spare them from rote learning and memorization. More importantly, it empowers weak students to become actively involved in their studies and to become independent learners and inquirers.
Q7: Evaluation as Per This Methodology?
A7) Student’s valuation in guided inquiry is quite different from the traditional direct instruction method. The types of homework problems and exams are designed to test the ability of the students to think critically and to assess his or her critical thinking level and creativity. That is, the evaluation is not geared towards checking if the students have amassed the necessary contents; rather, we want to assess how the student reacts when faced with an unfamiliar problem (be it in physics, chemistry, or math).
Q8: Your Advise To Young Generation?
A8) Advice to the young generation: I like always to underscore the importance of this golden rule to my students: You can be anything in life, provided you put in the necessary effort. That is, one cannot become a world-class scientist, engineer, or manager without consistent and persistent work from an early age until the goal is reached. There is no shortcut to success, one has to work consistently and commit the necessary effort to reach one’s dream or goal. Very much like a fruit tree, if one is to reap its fruits, one has to consistently take of it (i.e., by watering it and providing it with the necessary nutrients) over an extended period. It is not sufficient to have a nice dream for one’s life, one has to back it with deeds and the required sacrifices.
Q9: Something about India and Indian Students and Scientists?
A9) The Indian students attending US universities are among the most successful when compared to US and foreign students. Indian students arriving from India and attend US universities, they come to us with very strong backgrounds in sciences and engineering. As such, most of them become highly successful in undergraduate and graduate US science and engineering programs. Their high achievements are an indication or testimony that the Indian k-16 educational system is among the most successful in the world. The success of the Indian educational system has encouraged a number of US schools to outsource to India the task of teaching a number of courses online and offering online support to US students to help them solve homework problems.
Abdul Majeed Koduvally, Coordinator CIGI International &President Dammam Chapter, Working with King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Dhahran KSA