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


Soaring high in to the inquiry…

Today I read such an amazing post by David Gostelow . I personally believe an inquiry class room should be noisy, at times quiet.Every one should be engaged with their own learning.

In my classroom, kids select their own inquiries. I generally encourage group work. Sometimes independent inquiry.

Quiet time only happens when kids are reading in my class. They use noise meter to check their voice level depending upon their situation. It’s really a joy to see them in collaboration.

I was actually thinking, Is Agency new to PYP? If we see our classrooms , students were always inclined towards agency. They start their inquiry with their questions “What do they want to know “? What skills will they develop in the course of time? Reflecting upon their actions.

My kids, during our class room essentials agreement, mentioned that they will bring some new learning to share with their peers every Monday, and they religiously followed up. Wasn’t that agency?

As David said that kids are born inquirers so let them pilot their own learning however I strongly believe in giving feedback.

Our job is to give them constructive feedback so that they soar high with their inquiry and Learning. They get good insight to tackle their challenges.

Sometimes I feel kids will excel for sure in future, our job is to join their learning journey as a guide, as an expert and make their journey meaningful, joyful and more over stress free.

When I connected with my learning journey I realised that my own learning helped me the most and encouragement,appreciation mattered. I believe that, for any learners appreciation works like magic. However one should learn to see their learning critically. They should move ahead with changes and new understanding. That is what a PYP teacher’s role is in students learning.

I totally agree with Mindshift ” “. It was a brilliant post of a PYP student’s success journey which proves the importance of free inquiry and also how important is to acquire the necessary skills and understandings to be successful with this increased agency over learning.

I somehow connect with few lines of the post where they mentioned “we begin in a Structured Inquiry model, transition to a Controlled Inquiry, continue to a Guided Inquiry and, if all goes well, conclude with a Free Inquiry.” It seems to me journey from EY to PYP exhibition. In PYP exhibitions students mostly indulge into open inquiry.

Open inquiry is associated with high order thinking skills. Which gradually students develop during their PYP years. According to Bloom’s Taxonomy, “The ability to analyses, synthesize and evaluate information or new understanding indicates a high level of thinking.”

Learners are more valued than students….

The word AGENCY is a well-known word to all, however, still doubtful for many of us. Agency to me is the empowerment of students who are capable of understanding any issues and ready to take actions pertaining to their acquired knowledge.

For me, it`s the choice of an individual for bringing changes to their surroundings for the betterment of life.

But the questions come when I talk about agency in PYP and early years. How do they understand agency? How do we introduce this word?

Often we end up guiding students for societal issues, even planning their speeches . Instead of providing them opportunities to find out problems on their own and think upon. In my class, one of my students faced bullying and thought of guiding other students how to deal with such situations. I arranged a workshop for her and we all were patiently listening to her. Bingo; AGENCY!!

I remember during the kite making competition one of my students designed a kite instead of making. When I asked why he thought of doing that, he replied: “Winning is not everything, sometimes we should do what we like”.  I call it VOICE!

Students must know about their rights and responsibilities as a student and as a citizen. This will help them in decision-making and take proper action. Here I see the importance of IB attitudes. We all know that IB-PYP Attitudes helps students to develop a positive attitude towards people and the environment. But I am bit concern about current changes in IB attitudes.

To reach their goal, students must learn to adapt these attitudes and must reflect how they know they possess these attitudes. Students must follow attitude continuum to reflect and justify their role on daily basis. Until they know their role, rights and responsibility AGENCY seems to be a FANCY word.