A positive approach to POGIL pedagogy - Education Matters Magazine
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A positive approach to POGIL pedagogy

POGIL pedagogy

POGIL is a student-centred instructional approach where students work in small teams that are self-managed, with the instructor acting as a facilitator. Dr Aneeta Dogra explains how POGIL pedagogy fits into the Australian curriculum.

Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) is a student-centred teaching pedagogy that can be defined as a hybrid of three learning theories: active learning, inquiry-based learning and constructivism. The typical POGIL classroom consists of 3-4 students working in small self-managed groups on specially designed inquiry-based activity comprised of guided questions.

WHY IS POGIL VALUABLE IN THE CLASSROOM?

POGIL not only enhances the students’ conceptual understanding but also promotes the development of essential process skills. Research indicates that learners construct knowledge rather than just passively take in information, and that social interaction is a vital aspect in each student’s learning.

Furthermore, a collaborative learning environment promotes essential process skills such as problem solving, critical and analytical thinking, teamwork, and communication. POGIL enhances students’ conceptual understanding and process skills. Moreover, POGIL process skills and Australian curriculum general capabilities align with each other.

HOW DOES POGIL FIT IN THE AUSTRALIAN CURRICULUM?

Education has two main components: content and process. Both content knowledge and process skill are equally important, and the learning of one aids in the learning of the other. These skills are essential in the 21st century and this is emphasised by the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians.

In line with this view, general capabilities were incorporated in the Australian Curriculum to equip Australian students with the skill which will enable to live and work successfully in the 21st century. There are seven general capabilities outlined in the Australian Curriculum: Literacy, numeracy, information and communication technology (ICT) capability, critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, ethical understanding, and intercultural understanding.

Teachers can incorporate these general capabilities in their content teaching wherever possible. POGIL also helps to develop process skills such as Information processing, critical and analytical thinking, problem solving, communication, teamwork, management and assessment (self-assessment and metacognition).

Both Australian Curriculum and POGIL process skills align with each other, and some skills are common to both. POGIL serves as an effective tool and provide teachers with opportunities to teach these process skills without compromising the time because the POGIL worksheets can be easily incorporated into lessons.

POGIL pedagogy
The Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) learning cycle model.

HOW DOES A POGIL CLASSROOM WORK?

In a POGIL classroom, students work in heterogeneous teams of 3-4 students supporting and helping each other. To generate equal participation and positive interdependence, each team member is designated with a role of either Manager, Presenter, Recorder, or a Reflector.

Before implementing POGIL, teachers are encouraged to discuss with students the importance of student roles and the value of sharing constructive feedback. The teacher serves as a facilitator who moves around and guides students to achieve the desired learning outcome rather than the source of the information.

Students work collaboratively on carefully constructed inquiry-based activity comprised of guided questions based on the learning cycle model. POGIL worksheets consists of three parts to each module: The model, the critical thinking questions, and the exercises and problems. POGIL worksheets facilitate the development of higher-level thinking skills and the ability to learn and apply knowledge in new environments.

Like any other teaching strategy, POGIL has its own challenges such as time management and students’ lack of desire to engage in group discussions and problems associated with group dynamics. However, these problems can be overcome by setting clear expectations and using well-designed activities.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

POGIL
Dr Aneeta Dogra – Science Teacher at Thornlie Senior High School.

Dr Aneeta Dogra is a Science Teacher at Thornlie Senior High School. Her research focuses on teaching pedagogy, specifically student-centred learning strategies and philosophies that take particular interest in how students learn best. As part of this work, she conducted a research study to investigate whether POGIL can be adapted within the Australian Curriculum for upper secondary chemistry and lower secondary science classrooms to address specific science inquiry skills within this curriculum, and whether this implementation would aid in its cross- cultural transferability.

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