Inquiry Myth #3 - Without Limits or Parameters

In this series I aim to bust some common myths I often hear in my travels supporting teachers and schools in adopting an Inquiry Mindset for their students. My hope is that we can begin to inform colleagues, parents, and students as to what the reality of inquiry truly is. Please help this movement by sharing these with your PLN.

Here we go with Myth #3!

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Inquiry Myth #3 - Inquiry takes little to no planning and is without parameters

Reality:

  • Inquiry teachers know their curriculum. They still lesson plan, and they know what skills their students will need to progress in their classroom and beyond. Inquiry lessons actually require careful planning to measure student progress.

  • Inquiry teachers know their students. They have to assess abilities, interests and special needs to know what kind of inquiry will best suit a class, a lesson, and an individual.

  • Inquiry teachers know their standards and expectations. They carefully align the inquiry process with assessments and standards to meet the expectations of their school and district.

One of the talents of the inquiry teacher is their ability to provide voice and choice while simultaneously teaching to their curriculum and mandated learning objectives. They accomplish this by framing lessons and units of study with access points for all learners. These access points are more than differentiating learning. These access points connect to each students’ wonder and curiosity and provide a start point into learning that is highly relevant. It’s in this relevance that inquiry thrives.

How do you strike a balance between student wonder and your curriculum?

Inquiry Myth #2 - Inquiry is "lazy teaching"

In this series I aim to bust some common myths I often hear in my travels supporting teachers and schools in adopting an Inquiry Mindset for their students. My hope is that we can begin to inform colleagues, parents, and students as to what the reality of inquiry truly is. Please help this movement by sharing these with your PLN.

Here we go with Myth #2!

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Inquiry Myth #2 - Inquiry is so laid back that teachers don’t take an active role in student learning

Reality:

  • Inquiry teaching is sophisticated, nuanced, mindful,  strongly framed and goal-focused. Teachers are fully engaged in assisting each student through the inquiry process.

  • Inquiry teachers are passionate. They model a thought-provoking question style that builds interest.

  • Inquiry teachers reflect and revise as they go. They re-direct students when they start to veer from their purpose, and they help them persevere through obstacles.    Inquiry teachers carefully structure the environment. They guide students from a structured inquiry, one that is more teacher-directed, to free inquiry, where students have ownership of their learning and explore their sense of wonder and curiosity with ties to our curriculum

I propose teachers take on an active role in releasing control over learning to the student. Inquiry teachers are highly active in the classroom in that they take on different roles at different times for different reasons. At times they lecture or teach to all. At times they facilitate group and cooperative learning structures. At times they support individual students on a more personalized level as they shift, pivot, and respond to the needs of each student they work with.

Inquiry is not laid back nor is it lazy.

Inquiry Myth #1 - Unlimited Choice for Students

In this series I aim to bust some common myths I often hear in my travels supporting teachers and schools in adopting an Inquiry Mindset for their students. My hope is that we can begin to inform colleagues, parents, and students as to what the reality of inquiry truly is. Please help this movement by sharing these with your PLN.

Here we go!

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Inquiry Myth #1- Inquiry is a disorderly free-for-all

Reality:

  • Inquiry teachers give students voice and choice in their learning, but students work intentionally and within a defined organizational design.

  • Inquiry does require teachers to make the shift from being the only expert in the room to guide and facilitator; they allow students to become experts as well.

  • Inquiry teachers help students begin with a clear purpose, and shepherd them through the process. With intention and structure, inquiry teachers nurture student passions and talents.

When I speak to “person and purpose” I draw attention to how we consider the students we are working with (and for!) and take into consideration their questions, wonders, interests, goals, and passions. I ask you to consider how you can get to know your students to this extent and how you can connect these highly important details to your curriculum. I propose that our students’ questions, wonders, interests, goals, and passions have deep and authentic ties to our curriculum and perhaps if we all see our curriculum as something with some flex, as something we can reshape a bit, then we’ll have more success supporting our students in inquiry.

This connection, between student and curriculum, is the “person and purpose” I refer to.

Classroom 2.0 LIVE Webinar

Watch this webinar with the good folks at Classroom 2.0 LIVE all about Dive into Inquiry and how we can intentionally support our students in a more personalized learning environment.  And check out the amazing curation of resources connected to my work they put together.  Wow!

We don't throw the baby out with the bathwater my friends.  We mindfully strike a balance of control over learning with our students at the heart of the decisions we make.

Amazing Things Happening in Glenview D34!

Sometimes the most magical learning and authentic friendships can appear out of a single tweet. In fact, you’d be surprised how often this tends to happen. A few retweets between likeminded educators, add in a couple comments on one another’s tweets, sprinkle in a couple of DMs, and POOF, an inspiring partnership is planned!

Case in point my experience with Matt Silverman, Assistant Superitnedent for Curriculum of Glenview D34 in Illinois just north of Chicago.

Our interactions on twitter led to us planning a day of learning with teachers, librarians, instructional coaches, and administrators from his district. From the moment I stepped out of my Uber in the parking lot to the post-learning social he planned for attendees I was greeted with unparalleled kindness. The energy from the group was a joy to witness as we unpacked inquiry together.

Thank you to Matt, Adrienne, Sam, and Barrie (and everyone for that matter!) for welcoming into your district and treating me like family. Your kindness will not be forgotten!

Find them at #WeAreD34