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


  • 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.