Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Synergy in Inquiry - a sharing of Experiences and Resources for Inquiry Education in BC

mind mapping software
How do we get students owning their learning? Doesn't that question burn on the minds and hearts of all Educators?

Through my work in a Project Based Learning (PBL) program and as a PBL and Student Inquiry Resource Teacher I have come to put a high value on Inquiry as a vehicle by which to get students owning their learning. I have also come to see more clearly the work that it takes to cultivate Inquiry skills. Students need opportunity to explore, to ask, and to create in a risk free classroom environment. Students and Teachers also need a common language for Inquiry learning that reflects the messy, organic nature of learning. The language we use to describe learning becomes powerful when students begin to better understand themselves as learners through it. I want to be able to use a learning language with my students that reflects the way they learn through their life interests and passions, not just academics.

Recently I've had the opportunity to get a close look at a couple emerging resources for BC Educators: the draft curriculum, and the Smarter Science inquiry framework. What I'm seeing is a beautiful pairing of tools to support classroom teachers in getting students owning their learning. The smarter science framework aims to use science inquiry to teach inquiry skills - a skill set analogous to the competencies BC is drafting in its new curriculum. I'm curious to see where the overlap is with the two as well, and have begun that work in an open doc here (http://bit.ly/bcinquiryframework).



Personally I have also seen the interconnectedness of quality learning and quality relationships in the classroom. In order to gain comfort and efficacy in new ways of learning we as Educators need to be able to explore the risks and benefits with the learners we're working with. The environment needs to be one of trust; an environment that embraces mistakes as part of the learning process, and an environment that embraces the iterative nature of learning. While this framework illustrates a Kindergarten to Grade 9 progression in Inquiry skills I believe its crucial that we scaffold the Inquiry experience for each new group of learners we work with to ensure that we create a common language and experience together.