Inquiry-based Instruction versus Direct Instruction: Teaching Models’ Support of Students’ Critical Thinking and Comprehension
College of Education
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Models of teaching favored in high school classrooms vary by teacher. This study compared two models, direct instruction and inquiry-based instruction, to determine each one’s relationship to student’s percentage of improvement in recall and critical thinking. Two eleventh grade United States history classes were given control and experimental treatments. Direct instruction was included in the study as the control because it is the most commonly used method of instruction in the social science. Inquiry was used as the experimental treatment since this model is most often used in the hard sciences and is being tested to see if it has a positive or negative effect on recall and critical thinking on the two classes in the study. Each class was taught the same two lessons, but was taught using different teaching models. Each class received one lesson using direct instruction and one lesson using inquiry in the study. Data were collected by administering a pretest and posttest for each lesson then were analyzed for data and percentage of improvement was calculated. After analysis, it was found that the mean of the aggregate scores for the classes seemed to suggest that in terms of recall percentage of improvement, direct instruction had the most successful results for both classes in the study. On the other hand, in terms of critical thinking scores, inquiry tended to have the most successful results for both classes in the study.