Over the past two weeks, my thoughts of inquiry have developed quite a bit. My biggest reservations with this type of learning was feeling that planning would be very difficult. As a third grade teacher, rules and routines are important, so letting students take liberty to ask questions and discover can be difficult. What I have learned from our readings and videos the past two weeks though, is that this type of learning isn’t just a student free-for-all. While I knew that in the back of my head it wasn’t, it was still a little intimidating. Now that I have seen how inquiry based learning can take place in so many ways, it seems like planning for different types of inquiry is essential. I loved to learn that teacher-directed, student-teacher shared, and student-directed inquiry are all possible, intertwined, and can work for any lesson type and subject area. So I’d say what really changed for me is the idea that this type of learning can be used immediately and effectively without any planning or daily routine nightmares. I wrote in my previous post that I understand inquiry based learning can be implemented immediately, and can be used with things we already do and use in our classrooms, but the readings and videos really helped put that into perspective.
So for me, what has really changed is just a deeper understanding of types of inquiry and how they actually work in the classroom. Last week’s research also really helped me understand and value process skills needed for our students to be successful in the future. I really noted that these skills need to be taught, and we can’t assume that our kids simply know process skills and can problem solve. Problem solving itself is a skill, and I think teachers forget how essential it is to teach those skills and not assume our kids will just “get it eventually”. With that being said, the ambition of the Framework for 21st Century Learning is both admirable and amazingly useful for all educators as we move forward to prepare our students in this ever-changing and competitive world.