Inquiry: so much more than a buzzword

Engaging students interest by offering content and experiences that are relevant and meaningful is not really a new concept, at least in theory. But what if we took that relevant, meaningful content and approached it from the students perspective… choosing to have our pedagogy and our teaching actually directed by the learners themselves? This is the sort of stuff which freaks teachers out…

However, research is showing time and again, that if we want children to learn what we are teaching, we need them to engage in wondering about the material, making connections with what they already know, and be able to see how this new content is relevant to their lives in the real world. Sparking their interest, and guiding them to ask their own questions, form their own hypothesis, and seek their own solutions is the hallmark of inquiry guided education.

Here is an educator who seems to be getting it right, in my opinion:

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8 thoughts on “Inquiry: so much more than a buzzword

  1. casxvi

    I love it Nissa! It is very cool how much education has changed from when I was young and curious! Lol! Very inspiring for us, future teachers! I love your blog and how this can also inspire a bunch of other teachers to take on this approach as well! Very cool! 🙂

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  2. amistickokat

    Hey mango!! I really love your authentic approach and sincerity of education! you inspire me and give me good ideas:) I really like the your pages and customization..and you said you were not great at technology..your a natural!! Good luck and lets continue our education journey together!! yay!! p.s I’m not too enthusiastic about the final project:( haha

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  3. seanharmanblog

    Nissa you are on top of the blogging game. Your site is beautiful and full of content the we as teachers can use everyday. I really like that you have added a video that I myself found helpful in another class. Keep revolutionizing the blogging industry and soon you will be on the Mount Rushmore of tech people with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and that guy who invented Blackberry and then went broke.

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  4. Baba

    Nissa, great job on the blog.
    I have probably shared this with you before, but one of my favourite stories on the topic of inquiry, curiosity and engagement is of my youngest home-schooler.
    She was about 7 or 8 I think, and we had been given an antique cast iron waffle maker by a friend, who couldn’t use it as they didn’t have a cook stove to use it on. We had a recipe that called for 3 eggs, and we wanted to make a double batch but only had 4 eggs.
    In order to make as much batter as possible, my daughter had to multiply each ingredient amount by 1 &1/3, so quite complicated especially for things like 3/4 cup of something.
    Months later she was working on multiplying fractions in her maths workbook and getting frustrated as she wasn’t getting it. I suggested that she pretend it was a waffle recipe, the light went on and she understood it easily.
    The motivation and engagement of her making the waffles led to the inquiry, and the physical measuring made it much easier to understand the concept later on.
    Good luck!

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  5. karatameling

    Wow Nissa! Your blog looks amazing! You have went above and beyond what was asked of us and your blog truly reflects who you are and your goals as an educator. Keep up the good work, now I better go touch up my blog lol.;)

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  6. sherronb

    Inquiry poses a challenge for educators as we have to ask “What is my role here?” Usually this means getting out of the way, not ‘helping’, stepping back, observing and listening. But as teachers we are hard wired to help, to lead, to show, demonstrate; “I do, we do, you do” is a mentorship model used to build success in stages with a gradual release of responsibility. One can say it scaffolds in experience, a supportive learning environment in fact. No argument.

    But what happens when we flip this to say “I have confidence in your ability to problem solve. Here are some tools you likely will need at various points. What do we do next?” How does it feel to be the teacher and not know where it goes next? To not know what questions will arise? It can be uncomfortable and challenging, but it means having faith in the learner’s ability and desire to learn. If we get clear about the Big Ideas in the outcomes (this is the hardest part) and we take time to discuss the questions this poses, we are given direction and freedom to explore that idea through avenues that are meaningful and personal. With reflection a valued component of the process we can come to deep understanding.

    It also means students have to unlearn all the ways they have been made helpless while waiting for instructions, striving for the same answer (faster than the others), needing validation (“Is this right teacher?”). This can be uncomfortable and challenging for students as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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