The case for inquiry
The one-sided use of cognitive science in mathematics education has begun to reach disturbing levels in some areas of the UK. Many proponents of techniques linked to cognitive science, such as 'I do, we do, you do' and 'silent teacher', have an aversion to inquiry. So much so, in fact, that schools have started to ban inquiry from classrooms, even when teachers want to use inquiry approaches.
As one executive headteacher of three London secondary schools said in discussion with a teacher, "Inquiry learning is a big no-no." His schools have a highly traditional approach to teaching and an oppressive culture.
The schools are part of a 90-school multi-academy trust (MAT) that illustrates the trend in the UK. A decade ago, the MAT invited Inquiry Maths to run a workshop at a conference it organised at its flagship school. Now the MAT's maths advisers spend their time rooting out any sign of inquiry.
On this page, we have collected together articles and blog posts that address the fashion for using cognitive load theory and evolutionary psychology to justify draconian and authoritarian practices. And in an attempt to redress the balance, we make the case for inquiry.