Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum
Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum
The inquiry process culminates with presentations in which students show what they have learned. During a presentation, students should convey the meaning they have constructed from their information and demonstrate how the inquiry process led them there. These presentations can take many forms: They may be multimedia events or simple written essays; they may be done as a group or individually; they may be presented to the class or to a larger community. The nature of the presentation will depend on the scope of the inquiry, and on the imagination of the students and the teacher.
In Bo Wu's class on Esmeralda Santiago, students work toward a particular kind of presentation, knowing they will ultimately write a memoir inspired by Santiago's memoir. Wu asks them to pursue their questions about Santiago's writing and find connections with their own lives. She has them draw up timelines of similar themes in their own lives, and then has them connect these personal events with events in history. As she walks around the classroom, we see, for example, a young girl with a graphic organizer which poses this question: "Is change good or bad?" This is the question she is investigating both in Santiago's memoir and in her own life. Later, she will write a memoir using that question as a theme.
In the "social worlds" model that educators Richard Beach and Jamie Myers write about in Inquiry-Based English Instruction, each student must study and ultimately present his or her research about a certain social world. They may use tools ranging from oral and written narratives to music/audio, cameras, computers, art and sculpture, and video. Students should be able to say how their choice of media fits in with their particular social world. A number of students in a ninth-grade class reading coming-of-age stories, for example, created collages that showed links between the lives of the characters and their own lives.
The presentation phase draws all the previous work together into a coherent whole. This is the students' chance to be creative and to use their own talents to take raw information to another level. By having to think about an audience to whom they will present the information, students begin to impose structure on the mass of information, interpretation, and thought that has led to this stage.