Inquiry Myth #4 - Inquiry is a "Hot Mess Express!"

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 #4!

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Inquiry Myth #4 - Inquiry is a disorderly free-for-all


  • 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.

My co-author of Inquiry Mindset, the amazing Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt, always draws a smile to my face when she speaks about inquiry and how, with kindergarten students, it can be a “hot mess express”. I imagine a steam train plunging down a railway with dust and debris bellowing from its windows leaving a wake of destruction in its path. And although this may occur from time to time it is certainly not the norm. Inquiry isn’t messy nor is it out of control. Inquiry teachers strike a balance between letting experiences unfold and mindfully reining things in so it’s not a “hot mess express.”