Ripples & Reflections

"Learning is about living, and as such is lifelong." Elkjaer.

Defining Inquiry (again)

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Since my (re)defining inquiry assignment for Bath and article in IS-Mag, the importance of careful definition and action on inquiry has been on my mind.

Education continues to be a battleground between polar views on “what is best for the kids” and I find myself frustrated by the consistently dichotomous nature of the arguments: traditional vs progressive, schooling vs making, teacher-led vs student-driven.

I recognize the position of extreme educational privilege we occupy in the international school sector: with strong, evidence-based frameworks and quite a lot of freedom to choose what we teach and how. As we make our choices, we need to be informed, critical, creative thinkers in our own right. Make space in the curriculum for play, creativity, curiosity and action, but make sure that the foundations are solid.

As teachers we should follow the research and we should create it. We should be coaches, mentors, guides and activators of learning (in the Hattie sense). We should be inquirers, seeking to know our impact as we branch out into new territories.

………o0O0o……….

Inquiry is critical, creative, reflective thought built on a foundation of well-taught knowledge, skills and concepts, that invites learners to take action on their learning and ask “what if…?” 

Here’s my updated definition. It’s tidier than the last, less academic, and includes “creative”.

creativity260_tcm4-619441

Education Scotland has great resources for creativity: check it out and think.

It’s important here to define creativity as more than the arts and certainly more than a perception of something generally fun. It balances creative expression, teaching and learning with innovation and problem-solving. Creativity could be a catch-all term for the higher-order thinking skills, that in themselves require the foundational concepts, skills and knowledge to be worthwhile.

After all, everything is a remix ;>.

  • Which elements of the “traditional” do you see here? How about the “progressive”?
  • How would this look in a (traditionally) high-content course? How about the early years?
  • How does the student’s average day, week, unit, year feel with this in mind?
  • How can we use this to excite genuine, meaningful learning and avoid the fuzzy-buzz of pseudolearning?
  • How does this look across the IB continuum? How about the Trivium schools?
Defining Inquiry

Inquiry is critical, creative, reflective thought, built on foundation of well-taught knowledge, skills and concepts that invites learners to take action on their learning and ask “what if…?”

 

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Author: Stephen

Director of Learning & MYP Coordinator at Canadian Academy, Kobe, Japan. Formerly MYP HS Science & IBDP Bio teacher and missing it terribly. Twitterist (@sjtylr), dad and bloggerer.

2 thoughts on “Defining Inquiry (again)

  1. Pingback: Visualising the Curriculum: A Design-Cycle Approach | Ripples & Reflections

  2. Pingback: MYP Mind the Gap: Tensions in Transition from MYP to DP | Ripples & Reflections

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