You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. (Dr. Seuss, 1957/1990)
My career pathway led me to the adventure of teaching – a path I have been following for the last 17 years. Currently, I’m a Brisbane Primary school teacher based in a large Bayside state school. Most of my experience has been in upper primary, but I find myself this year in a job-share position teaching Year 2. During my career, I have experienced many changes in curriculum and educational thought from productive pedagogies, integrated units to standardised testing (NAPLAN) and data-driven, explicit practices.
It is this background, that has formed my current understanding of inquiry learning. I believe inquiry learning to be a student-centred approach with the teacher acting more as a guide and facilitator of student learning. A hands-on approach that allows students to be an active participant and creator of their own knowledge. I have mainly observed inquiry learning in practise in the science and humanities curriculum areas.
Last year, I had the unique experience of teaching for a short-time in a discovery-learning school. Discovery learning is a very open and less guided form of inquiry learning and this experience has also influenced my current view of inquiry teaching. It is from this lens of experience I formulated the following three initial questions to guide my journey into inquiry learning:
- How does the role of the teacher and classroom management change with inquiry learning?
- How do you structure the physical learning environment to support inquiry learning?
- Is inquiry learning more suited to particular learning areas?
So in the spirit of Dr. Seuss, what I am I waiting for? It’s time to get on my way!
Reference: Dr.Seuss (1990). Oh, the places you’ll go! New York, NY: Random House. (Original work published 1957)