Previous research indicates that inquiry-based learning is beneficial for English-language learners in content courses. Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) is a student-centered, team-focused framework widely used in the United States at the high school and university levels for teaching science. All POGIL activities follow a 3-phase learning cycle and are often organized such that students are treated as learners of the language of science. Published research investigating the effectiveness of POGIL has been conducted primarily at the undergraduate level using material written in English with no distinction regarding the English level of the students. However, anecdotal evidence indicates that POGIL benefits English-language learners in content courses, even when they are mixed with native speakers. The goal of this study was to investigate student assessment of their learning gains when POGIL was used to teach a molecular biology-focused English course at a Japanese university. All students in the course were English-language learners. Students were either first- or second-year enrollees and approximately 66% were science-track students and 33% were humanities-track students. Results from this study show that students had a positive attitude toward the POGIL method and felt that the activity structure furthered their content knowledge as well as improved their English language skills.
James Ellinger, University of Tokyo, Japan
Stream: Teaching Experiences
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