Inquiry in the Classroom

“A good education must expose knowledge gaps and increase the hunger for further inquiries.” To understand this quote one must understand what is an inquiry, how it look like, feel like and sound like. The literal meaning of inquiry says investigation. However, it`s an approach for teaching and learning. That is what a new born baby does when he sees the world for the first time and he tries to experience it. He grabs every possible thing to investigate and that is how he learns.

It`s very important to know why inquiry, before we understand an inquiry classroom. Inquiry promotes learning, it motivates learners to explore things on their own thus promote self- management skill. Students take the ownership of their learning. It helps us to feel engaged where we take the learning ahead and we decide how much we will learn and how we will plan our learning. An inquiry teacher never bothers about what she wants to teach but rather she prioritizes student questions, ideas, and analyses. She makes sure students make the connection between their real-life experiences and learning. They are able to reason out topics and are skilled enough to give justification.

Inquiry in classroom looks like: Inquiry classroom looks like everyone is engaged in learning through experimenting, talking, investigating. It has flexible seating arrangement, display boards are reflective in nature not with beautiful teacher`s display.

Inquiry in classroom sounds like: Kids discussing with each other using visible thinking routine. Often teacher sounds like co-learner rather than a teacher. It sounds like someone presenting their learning. It sounds like the teacher providing feedback.

Inquiry in the classroom feels like: An inquiry classroom feels like kids might use what they have learned to contribute and make a difference. Here learners are valued and respected. Teacher asks open-ended question rather structured.

Few examples of inquiry in the classroom are: ➢ Students are engaged in experiential learning ➢ Lesson becomes project-based learning rather than a lecture ➢ More room for discussion ➢ Encouraging wonder wall ➢ Students use participation ladder to reflect an enduring understanding ➢ Classroom have inquiry table ➢ Student reflects their understanding through visible thinking routine or strategy, rather than the worksheets ➢ Evidence of uses of multiple intelligences ➢ Use of differentiated instructions ➢ Student reflections are authentic rather than teacher driven

Last but not the least an inquiry classroom provides you an opportunity to know your students better and it helps to build a strong relationship. As someone rightly said “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.”

MLSI/2018-Inquiry in the classroom Drafted by Chandrani Roy Banerjee

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