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Mark Salata


MARK SALATA is an educational consultant specialising in inquiry-based learning. Dr Salata has provided professional development for teachers in the field of inquiry learning specifically in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States. Over the past several years, he has worked with teachers from hundreds of primary and secondary schools to transform their classrooms into thriving centers of inquiry learning and creativity. He was an associate professor of biology at Gordon College in Georgia, director of the BSCS Keys to Science Institutes in Colorado Springs, CO, and is trained as a cellular and molecular biologist, in addition to having earning his PhD in Science Education from the University of Virginia while studying the effectiveness of concept-mapping as an advanced organizer. He is currently CEO of Mining Gems, an educational consultancy based in the US and is serving as the Director of Pedagogy and Publishing for Amdon Consulting Pte/Ltd in Singapore. His most recent work in Singapore involved co-facilitating a workshop on inquiry-based learning and technology with his colleague Dr Rodger Bybee.

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Two Day Institute - Oct. 28 & 29

Title Mining the Gems Within: Inquiry-Based Learning and Questioning in Secondary Science
Inquiry is sometimes considered a teaching strategy, a separate thought process for scientists, or a framework for lessons. How one defines inquiry-based learning and teaching is critical for any teacher, team, or whole school to consider. With a proper definition to guide the transformation of classroom practice, the discussion of what counts as inquiry and what it should look like is made easier. In this institute, we will address inquiry as a fundamental characteristic that humans utilize to understand the material world and creatively alter it. We will focus on inquiry in relation to its use in a science classroom for learning science concepts as well as the process and nature of science.
On Day One, we will define inquiry through modeling it with clear demonstrations, videos, and reflect on our own experiences as students and educators. In addition, we will learn about the variety of activities that may be considered inquiry-based, the Five Essential Features of inquiry, the BSCS 5E instructional model, and the Mining Gems IBL model for learning environments.

On Day Two we will continue our exploration with inquiry and consider in more detail how questioning, silence, and listening are key to allow for deeper learning. Common misconceptions will be addressed, as well as a gradual process for planning, action, and reflection to create inquiry-based lessons will be discussed. Participants will create and/or revise lessons according to the many resources we review on the first day and during the early part of the second.

Throughout both days, participants will have opportunities to share their own experiences with inquiry and to collaborate. They will begin to develop individual plans to implement inquiry and questioning in their classrooms and apply these concepts in a practical fashion.

Targeted Audience
Secondary Science.
Overview/introductory (no previous experience)
Participants will. . .
  1. understand inquiry-based learning and teaching more deeply via examples and modeled immersion;
  2. identify the full range of activities that may be considered inquiry-based;
  3. learn about the BSCS 5E instructional model as it was designed;
  4. learn about the Mining Gems IBL model for learning environments;
  5. analyze lessons based on the Indicators of Inquiry observation tool, Bloom's Revised Taxonomy, and the Five Essential Features of Inquiry;
  6. revise their own lessons in light of our discussions and activities related to inquiry-based learning and questioning.
Prerequisites Participants should bring a lesson or unity of study that they'd like to revise.
Handouts Handouts will be posted as received. Please check the Handouts page for listing.
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