E. Etkina, D.T.Brookes, G. Planinsic
The Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE) approach is an intentional holistic learning environment which addresses two main goals: to help students learn physics by engaging them in the processes that mirror scientific practice and to improve their well-being while they are learning physics. Specifically, help them develop perseverance, growth mindset and physics identity. We believe that everyone can learn physics given tools, time, and support, therefore students learning physics through the ISLE approach are encouraged to improve their work without being punished for send or third attempt.
This approach involves students working in groups developing their own ideas by
- observing phenomena and looking for patterns,
- developing explanations for these patterns,
- using these explanations to make predictions about the outcomes of testing experiments,
- deciding if the outcomes of the testing experiments are consistent with the predictions,
- revising the explanations if necessary, and
- encouraging students to represent physical processes in multiple ways.
The combination of these features is applied to every conceptual unit in the ISLE learning system, thus helping the students develop productive representations for qualitative reasoning and for problem solving.
To make sure that students’ confidence, motivation and well-being are improved while learning physics, one of the important features of the ISLE approach is encouraging students and creating opportunities for them to improve their work multiple times without punishment for multiple trials. While such idea might sound a little crazy, lots and lots of ISLE teachers have been using it for years. Eugenia Etkina started this work in 1982 and continued for almost 40 years. Many followed.
To help students feel comfortable with the approach, it is important that the classroom becomes a learning community. Building a learning community is one of the goals of our work.
To implement the ISLE approach, go to Textbook information, Free ISLE Resources and How to implement ISLE on this website and take advantage of all the materials that we have created in the last 20 years.
To become a part of the community of teachers implementing the ISLE approach, please to join the Facebook group “Exploring and Applying Physics”. When you apply to join, do not forget to answer the question.