Am I an inquiry teacher or a teacher who does inquiry?

It has been two weeks since my workshop with Kath Murdoch, but it has been some thing at the forefront of my mind as it left me thinking that I am Screen Shot 2013-07-20 at 2.57.53 PMon the right track, but at the same time missing some simple, but very important parts of the equation.

As soon as she began her presentation everything seemed to make sense and I was making connections left, right and center.

First self-discovery

There was no Wi-Fi & I was at a loss. I am now a person who needs to Google all that I don’t know instantly, as by searching the Googalable I identify the real learning faster.

Then Kath posed 4 questions that made many shift in their seats when they thought of the answers and If there was just one aspect to take away it would be the reflections and discussions with colleagues over the past fortnight relating to the four questions below.

Am I an inquiry teacher or a teacher who does inquiry?

Is this an inquiry classroom?

Are my students inquirers all through the day?

Am I an inquirer?

I am happy to say that I know I am an inquirer, but as to the other three questions I would have to say that this is where my next learning focus lies. At times I would answer yes to the first three questions but not constantly.

I incorporate elements of inquiry into my literacy program, but after looking at the blog of Bruce Ferrington, using inquiry in Maths, I know that there is huge scope for development of my numeracy and that this approach would be so much more meaningful as we learn through investigation rather than being told the answer.

Quick Lego reflection identifying that I may have jumped a few steps in the process... hence need to jump back to the start sometimes.
Quick Lego reflection identifying that I may have jumped a few steps in the process… hence need to jump back to the start sometimes.

Is my classroom an inquiry classroom – Yes, most definitely, but there is a lot that can be tweaked and developed. The physical environment and the tools are there. The openness to question, reflect and create meaning and understanding, but the language of the process is one area I am planning on really looking closely at as I feel that my students need to be able to articulate their learning as well as they can articulate their writing or strategy using  mathematics.  Guy Claxton’s Split Screen Lesson is one way that I feel that I will be able to remove the mystery behind the learning and identify the skills and contexts behind the content.  I know that when I plan a lesson all of these components are taken into account, but it is imperative that I make them clear for the students.

Do I ‘Do’ inquiry? No, but I know that I need to cut the strings and allow more times for independent inquiry.  This has been a goal of mine for a long time and I have looked a lot into the Genius Hour (do not like that title) or 20% time and the other models that have sprung up, Kath calls it ‘I Time’ as you have Inquiry, Investigative, Interest, Innovative and all the other I words that seem to fit within the independent inquiry.

So two days and my head was full and buzzing.  I had a list of things to do and things to change and things to keep on doing like I am doing at the moment. I want to make time for meaningful ‘Independent Inquiries’, but I need to make sure that the scaffolding is there to support the process. I need to make the learning context and skills more transparent, but that comes down to the language that I choose to use in the class – Choice Words needs a re-read over the holidays. I need to keep on being a passionate teacher, but that is not going to change. I need to be an Inquirer, not just model the process, but I feel that I am an inquirer, so I just need to again make that more visible to my students. I need to ensure that my class is an ‘Inquiry’ class always, not just on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, but always.

Finally, a bit off track, but I have tried to get staff onto Twitter, to try it, to test their toes in the water with only one taker. Kath walks into the room talks Tweets, mentions that we had communicated through twitter the day before and now it seems that Twitter is the new thing.

Second Self discovery
You can lead a horse to water, but only Kath Murdoch can make them Tweet.

Screen Shot 2013-07-20 at 3.03.15 PM
Think that I need to add this tweet to my CV. Kath Murdoch’s Roadie would look good under job history.

4 thoughts on “Am I an inquiry teacher or a teacher who does inquiry?

  1. Pingback: Am I an inquiry teacher or a teacher who does i...

    1. Hi Luke

      What a lovely reflection – thanks for taking the time to share it. I think the best thing we can do as inquiry teachers is to carry those kinds of challenging questions in our heads – and to let them ‘infuse’ the decisions we make in a daily basis. The more mindful we are, the better we teach. It was a joy to work and learn with you all and to be able to take the day further back at your school for up close, personal conversations. Keep in touch! Kath

      1. Thanks Kath,
        Was a truly inspiring few days and left challenged and inspired. Will defiantly keep in touch and next time your in Nanjing I take you out for a meal 😉
        Hei kona
        Ps: get back to writing that new book.

  2. Hi Luke, I agree – Kath is an inspiration. I also agree that we are always learning and should never be satisfied that we have nothing else to learn. Learning is a journey not a destination…

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