I admit that I skipped much of this module as this topic is something I have lived and breathed my entire teaching career. Working as an IB PYP educator, and having a basis in inquiry driven primary teaching at home in Aus, this concept comes naturally to me. I actually have trouble understanding how else to teach. Throughout my learning and teaching lifetime, I have been blessed with mentors – both colleagues, peers and professors – who have facilitated my own inquiry learning, making me a better teacher and person.
I strongly believe in the PYP framework and the methodology employed within that framework. I have seen children of all abilities, nationalities, religions and races learn to collaborate in order to push their learning further. Teaching and learning within the framework of concept based education has been challenging – it adds a different dimension to inquiry/PBL – but worth it overall when you see the connections kids can make.
However, and this is a HUGE however, kids will only flourish with inquiry/PBL when they have teachers who genuinely UNDERSTAND what inquiry means and are willing to give HUGE amounts of time and effort to scaffold students.
Inquiry DOESN’T mean a free for all, it DOESN’T mean students do whatever they like, and it DOESN’T mean it’s airy fairy stuff where teachers just kick back and let it all happen.
TRUE inquiry needs strong planning, lots of collaboration, very clear expectations (for students and teachers) of the process needed to get to the end product, skills to differentiate for learning styles and abilities, extensive skill teaching of questioning and info literacy, an ability and willingness to participate in the think-act-reflect cycle (students and teachers) and most of all, TEACHERS or TLs who hold outcomes and standards in the back of their minds whenever they plan and teach a lesson.
Tell me how all this is EASIER than rote teaching and I’ll hang up my teaching hat right now.