In the last few years of my education degree I have certainly heard a lot about inquiry based learning. We have been exposed to the concept in several classes, and have been taught how to incorporate it into units and lessons, and have also been tasked with working through the inquiry process ourselves so that we can get an understanding of what students could do. While this seems to have been an awe-inspiring experience for some of my classmates, it has seemed fairly “ordinary” to me.
Now, if you know me, you may have been shocked to read that last sentence. Did she really just say that inquiry learning is “ordinary”? Yes, yes I did, and I’ll say it again. The experience of inquiry, to me, is ordinary.
It is ordinary because this is how my brain has always worked. Throughout my education “career” as a student I was always wanting to know more about things. I would read almanacs, encyclopedia, any book I could get my hands on, listen to tid-bits of information here and there, watch educational television shows, and dig for new information about the world in any way I could. As a child my mom shook her head and couldn’t believe that I would rather stay home and read on a weekend, and actually enjoyed my homework assignments. In high school I continued this trend, and was labeled one of those “nerdy” kids who was always doing school work and could always be found in the library. Same went for my first post-secondary program. Now, in the pursuit of my education degree, in a field where learning is pretty much in the job description, I’m still called a “keener” for always wanting to know and do more and affectionately known as the “research junkie”. This is because I just want to learn everything! Ok, now not literally everything, but I just love learning!
For me, doing an inquiry project is just fun! Researching and finding new ideas is awesome! I just wrote a blog post about it yesterday actually! While my classmates may find they have to dedicate time and energy to working on an inquiry project, for me, It’s just something I do naturally and really enjoy doing.
I’m currently “inquiring” into the idea of differentiated learning with some of my classmates (Amie, April, and Emma – check out their blogs by the way!). For our investigation we are looking at ways to reach and engage all of the learners in the classroom As this is an area that none of are super familiar with, we’ve been starting off slowly trying to find some different sorts of ideas to start sharing with each other. Eventually we hope to be able to produce a mini-website of sorts to be able to share all of our amazing finds with other educators. We hope to include information about blended learning, adapting for learners with special needs, incorporating EAL students, challenging high achievers, and helping lower achievers find motivation to catch up and keep up. In essence, we hope to find many ways to change the content, activities, set-up, product, and environment of the classroom to make for successful learning for all of the students in the class. So far we’ve decided to all go out and explore the many different areas that are out there in differentiation and come back with several different things that have inspired us. From there we will venture onwards to dive deeper into some areas and see what great ideas we can learn from! I’m sure it will be an exciting process over the next several weeks!
Now to turn to you, readers! What do you like to find information about? What ways do you look for new things? And, what do you think about differentiated instruction and how might it look in your classroom?
Have a great weekend!