A message about inquiry, process, and lifelong learning…

I believe in inquiry-based learning, where the teacher acts as a facilitator of knowledge and students are constructivists.

I believe in the importance of the process as well as the product.

I believe in guiding students to be independent lifelong learners and engaged citizens.

” Inquiry-based learning is a complex process where students formulate questions, investigate to find answers, build new understandings, meanings and knowledge, and then communicate their learnings to others.” (source) This seems to be one the latest buzz words in education and it is trending with good reason. This student lead learning is the gateway to guiding students toward independent lifelong learners. As a teacher, making the adjustment to inquiry learning was challenging at first as I had to hand over the reigns to the students, their interests and ideas directed my planning. I feel like many teachers are somewhat timid to try this method because it requires differentiated instruction based on interest groups, meaning it requires more planning. Having said that my philosophy isn’t based on teachers, it is based on students and student success. I feel that inquiry learning can be a fabulous tool for all students because it is interest based, it sends students the message that their interest are valuable and worth exploring, their questions are valid and we can learn from them.

The only flaw one might find in inquiry is that students interest are inappropriate, or perhaps they are having trouble generating questions. I believe we can guide them to a related topic that is appropriate and probe for questioning and deeper level thinking. I have also heard the argument that this method can leave out those who are shy and don’t like to speak up in class. Once again, I feel that it is our role as educators to create groupings that allow all students voices to be heard, the little extra time it takes will be worth it in the end. Now, the other thing I have left to consider as to why I have this in my philosophy is “Is it just there because that’s what school divisions are looking for?” Well, at this point in my life when University is coming to a close and I begin searching for a job, I have been asking myself that a lot lately. Do I believe this, or is this what they believe? The truth is, I really do see the value in inquiry, process oriented, intrinsically motivated learning. Even if this wasn’t the latest buzz word, it would be hard to not adapt this style into your classroom. What are your thoughts on inquiry?  Does it really guide students to become independent life long learners? 


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