Inquiry as part of the solution

inquiryHow much student and teacher inquiry is currently going on in our classrooms? Does the current structure of our educational system promote or stifle inquiry?

Over the past semester, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a group of practicing teachers on a course (new for me), Teacher as Inquirer at Moravian College. The course is the first in a series of three courses. Teacher as Inquirer lays the foundation of inquiry with a focus on

  • taking an inquiry stance into understanding ourselves as teachers.
  • identifying technology tools and ways they can promote inquiry.
  • designing and implementing effective inquiries into individual teaching practice.
  • designing and implementing effective technology-rich inquiry learning experiences in the classroom for our students.

Having spent the semester with a terrific group of thinkers, my biggest takeaway is this: If we want to bring about changes in teaching and learning (including how we use technology), teachers must design learning experiences around inquiry. In order to effectively do this, teachers must be inquirers themselves. I’m not so sure educators (teachers as well as leaders) in general are comfortable (or skilled) with the inquiry process.

I had a great deal of fun this semester and learned a lot about myself as a learner and a teacher of inquiry. I am looking forward to staying connected to this group as they move through the second and third courses in the series – Teacher as Researcher and Teacher as Evaluator.

For those interested in digging deeper into inquiry, I highly recommend the texts we used for the course. You can also check out our class website to learn in more detail what we accomplished this semester.

  • Harvey, S. & Daniels, S. (2010). Comprehension and collaboration: Inquiry circles in action. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
  • Howland, J., Jonassen, D., & Marra, R. (2012). Meaningful learning with technology. Boston: Pearson.
  • Ritchhart, R., Church, M., & Morrison, K. (2011). Making thinking visible: How to promote engagement, understanding, and independence for all learners. San Fransisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
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By Randy Ziegenfuss Posted in Learning

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