Publication Date

2014

Document Type

Article

Abstract

It is the consensus among language educators that the objectives of teaching a second/foreign language (L2) put stress on the enhancement of students’ communication skills and advocate the importance of interaction in the classroom. In addition to theories and methods exclusively dedicated to language instruction, the domain-independent inquiry-based teaching, a cognitive approach, can be easily and effectively integrated into the L2 classroom which echoes the concerns and needs in L2 education. Inquiry teaching is characterized by its question-answer interactive information exchanges. Instead of learning passively, it stimulates students to actively engage in cognitive and discovery learning activities. It is assumed that this active, discovery, or Socratic teaching approach promotes the dynamics in class, draws and maintains students’ attention, reinforces meaningful communication, deepens and expands intellectual capacity, and facilitates learning transfer. Most importantly, it supports the development of learner’s cognitive and metacognitive strategies. This technique best fits within the theme-based text and can be conducted in an expanding spiral pattern. A questionnaire was administered in a Chinese as a second language class to assess students’ feedback on the effectiveness and preference of this approach and favorable findings were revealed. Students expressed enthusiasm on inquiry-based teaching and indicated that this approach reinforced their learning and understanding of the course material. Qualitative data also shows that inquiry-based teaching enhanced students’ classroom engagement and fostered an effective and meaningful learning experience.

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