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Developing an Inquiry Culture

Encouraging inquiry at the MYP level (for assignment #2, EDES 542)

Kirsten Morozov

on 19 July 2010

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Transcript of Developing an Inquiry Culture

MYP Inquiry What is it like? How does it work? Why is it like it is? How is it changing? How is it connected to other things? What are the points of view? What is our responsibility to stakeholders,and what responsibility must stakeholders take? How do we know inquiry has been effective? parents students teachers “Inquiry is the dynamic process of being open to wonder and
puzzlements and coming to know and understand the world”
(Galileo Educational Network, 2009)
"Inquiry-based learning is a process where students are involved in
their learning, formulate questions, investigate widely and then
build new understandings, meanings and knowledge. That
knowledge is new to the students and may be used to answer a
question, to develop a solution or to support a position or point of
view. The knowledge is usually presented to others and may
result in some sort of action" (Asselin, Branch, & Oberg, 2003, p. 1)
"Guided inquiry creates an environment that motivates students to learn by providing opportunities for them to construct their own meaning and develop deep understanding" (Kuhlthau, Maniotes, & Caspari, p. 6, 2007).

Inquiry has been developed in this way because it best serves children's learning needs. Children, as Kuhlthau et al. (pp. 25-28, 2007) point out:

learn by being actively engaged in and reflecting on an experience
learn by building on what they already know
develop higher-order thinking through guidance at critical points in the learning process
have different ways and modes of learning
learn through social interaction with others
learn through instruction and experience in accord with their cognitive development

Using backwards planning, and Chris' Persepolis unit as an example:

Are our students able to answer the (broad) MYP student questions posed? E.g. "How do we tell our stories: how does the medium shape the message?"

Are our students able to come to a meaningful understanding of the significant concept? E.g. "Outsiders define us by pushing and shaping our boundaries." Principles of Inquiry Circles

Choice of topics based on genuine student curiosity, questions, interests
Digging deeply into complex, authentic topics that matter to kids
Flexible grouping, featuring small research teams, groups, task forces
Heterogenous, nonleveled groups with careful differentiation
Student responsibility and peer leadership
Use of proficient-reader/thinker/researcher strategies
Drawing upon multiple, multigenre, and multimedia sources
Going beyond fact-finding to synthesizing and building and acquiring knowledge
Actively using knowledge in our school and communities: sharing, publication, products, or taking actions
Matching or "backmapping" kids' learning to state or district standards

(Harvey &Daniels, 2009, p. 13)
Guided inquiry uses a teaching team of teachers, librarians and other specialists. (Kuhlthau, Maniotes, & Caspari, 2007) From the factory model to 21st century learning Teachers “...have relinquished the Sage-on-stage stand to become guides on the side.” (Harvey & Daniels, 2009, p. 6)
http://www.heinemann.com/comprehensionandcollaboration. Habits of Mind (Costa & Kallick, 2009, p. x) http://www.ibo.org/programmes/profile/ http://stratfordhall.ca/gallery# How do we, as teacher-librarians, use our role as educational leaders to ensure that students "...graduate from high school college-ready and globally competent, prepared to compete, connect, and cooperate with their peers around the world" (Stewart, 2010, p. 101)? "Inquiry work with students is an active interchange between students and teachers of ideas, information, learnings, experiences, activities and feelings, through which meaning is constructed. This interchange is supportive, discursive, adaptive, interactive and reflective. Teachers suggest how students can move forward, see things from new perspectives, make connections between previous and new knowledge, and see the patterns of their learning" (Asselin, Branch, & Oberg, 2003, p. 41) "Schools will be places where intellectual work is designed that cause students to want to be instructed and will become platforms that support students in making wise choices among a wide range of sources of instruction available rather than platforms that control and limit the instruction available to them" (Schlechty, 2009, p. 11). "Many Americans fear that an inadequate system of education will compromise America’s ability to compete in a global economy. In fact, they have more to fear from the possibility that young people who graduate will lack the skills and understandings needed to function well as citizens in a democracy. Americans have more to fear from the prospect that the IT revolution will so overwhelm citizens with competing facts and opinions that they will give up their freedom in order to gain some degree of certainty than they have to fear from economic competition around the world. Leaders should be far more concerned that Americans will cease to know enough to preserve freedom and value liberty, equity, and excellence than they are with how well American students compare on international tests. As numerous scholars have shown, authoritarian leaders and charlatans thrive in a world where ordinary citizens are overwhelmed with facts and competing opinions and lack the ideas and tools to discipline their thinking without appealing to some authority figure for direction and support"(Schlechty, 2009, p. 16). The need to teach students to think for themselves - can they parse through competing opinions? "Schools must be transformed from platforms for instruction to platforms for learning, from bureaucracies bent on control to learning organizations aimed at encouraging disciplined inquiry and creativity" (Schlechty, 2009, p. 5) society? I believe inquiry allows the opportunity for students to think for themselves. open-inquiries e.g. Can (tweaked) activities such as Identity Day (Couros, 2010)(http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/791) provide practice that will lead to increase independence, depth, and confidence with Personal Projects?

Also, during their last presentation, the Leadership Group spoke of how impressed they were with the host school's emphasis on the students, rather than the program.
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
- William Butler Yeats Long ago, before the factory model of education, teenagers were given relevant apprenticeship opportunities that made them feel and act as adults, while still having guidance through their maturation process. Sometimes the old is new. apprenticeship: - example of the skills we need to teach when using one to one computing in inquiry. What understandings do we want students to gain as a result of inquiring further about Glocal Day topics?

How will we know that having students conduct open-inquiries in the form of e.g. Identity Day helps improve performance on the Personal Project? In our library: PRO 371.36 HAR U Fantastic resources! Inquiry Approach

Student voice and choice
Questions and concepts
Collaborative work
Strategic thinking
Authentic investigations
Student responsibility
Student as knowledge creator
Interaction and talk
Teacher as model and coach
Cross-disciplinary studies
Multiple resources
Multimodal learning
Engaging in a discipline
Real purpose and audience
Caring and taking action
Performance and self-assessments

Which of these various points describes what we do in the classroom? We're aiming for an inquiry approach, but may still be stuck at times in the coverage approach.

Inquiry takes practice. "Rather than attempting to teach all there is to know about information seeking prior to the assignment, Guided Inquiry incorporates information location, evaluation, and use concepts throughout the research process. (Kuhlthau, Maniotes, & Caspari, p. 5, 2007) Inquiry in and of itself is not so complicated when you just look at the step-by-step outline, but when you try to combine it with new teaching assignments, all the administrative stuff, the masters to whom we must answer, parents trying to drag you in many directions, and the non-academic needs of students, it can be hard to focus so that inquiry can be done really well – i.e. each step in the outline is complicated by and must adapt to real life.

Every time I am reminded of inquiry techniques, provided with new examples, hear the ideas of others and work through my own understandings of it by “thinking aloud” by participating in discussions and writing papers, effective teaching using inquiry will slowly become more a part of my teaching identity and teaching make-up. It will become habit, to the point where I will have to think it through less and less when I am actually in the moment. I am starting to consider it inquiry kung fu – my mantra is, “I will flow like water around any obstacles in my path to inquiry. I must become the inquiry, I will be the inquiry, I am the inquiry, I will always be the inquiry, and then, finally, I will make all of the universe inquiry, etc. etc.” Coverage Approach

Teacher selection and direction
Required topics and isolated facts
Solitary work
As if/surrogate learning
Student compliance
Student as information receiver
Quiet and listening
Teacher as expert and presenter
One subject at a time
Reliance on a textbook
Verbal sources only
Hearing about a discipline
Extrinsic motivators
Forgetting and moving to next unit
Filling in bubbles and blanks

- Harvey & Daniels, 2009, p. 56
I can help. Some examples are:

helping draw out meaningful questions from students

assist teachers from different disciplines to work together

find multiple resources and guide students through their use

assist in making connections with community experts


burning questions?

Post on the burning question board (and/or other medium, to be set up at time of presentation) A little reflection on our part... Inquiry still includes formative critical thinking challenges and mini-lessons, preferably ones that directly support the inquiry. At times, you will still need to fill in the gaps. http://www.inquiryschools.net/page10/files/Kath%20Inquiry.pdf or http://www.education.alberta.ca/media/313361/focusoninquiry.pdf It's about the students...and a cheeky reminder of that: We can make this about the students... mini-inquiries curricular inquiries literature circle inquiries - perhaps Glocal Day could be the frontload, along with some books, to a school-wide inquiry. Let the students run with whatever they wonder about the Glocal topic (even if it isn't socially conscious). - and/or each grade could backmap the Glocal Day inquiry to grade level learning outcomes.
- students could be guided to cover these outcomes, even while maintaining choice of research topic. (Canadian Council on Learning, 2009)
http://www.ccl-cca.ca/ (A Fleck Studios Production, 2007)
http://www.projectfoundry.org/ Not only the views of various educational stakeholders, but other kinds of perspectives... (Heinemann Videos, 2010). www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL6d_rRHZMo A Prezi by Kirsten Morozov
http://tlkirsten.wordpress.com Form Function Causation Change Connection Perspective Responsibility Reflection John Abbott discusses his idea that secondary students should spend half of their educational time outside of classrooms. Students in a remote school are mentored by experts in the community on a variety of topics. These students are responsible, with teacher and software guidance, for ensuring that they are covering required learning outcomes during their inquiry projects. Note: this video promotes a particular software program. vs. Key Question Descriptors
http://www.maseruprep.co.ls/keyconcepts.html More Inquiry Resources Photo Credit:US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration http://gimp-savvy.com/cgi-bin/img.cgi?noaaqqnRVbWbCOU6285 Public Domain Photo (O'Brien, n.d.) (Canadian Council on Learning, 2009)
http://www.ccl-cca.ca/ stock photo stock photo (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2005-2010) References
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