..said no true inquiry teacher ever....

After years of publishing books and articles   - you would think that the relatively simple act of “blogging” would come naturally.  Strangely, like using twitter and facebook for professional purposes, I have been very slow to include blogging in my repertoire of professional communication vehicles.  For someone who loves writing, I have been curious as to why.

 I am starting to think that it has simply taken me a while to adjust to the different KIND of writing that a blog requires  - and indeed the different processes one goes through as a writer.   Writing and publishing a book is a slow and carefully crafted process.  The volume of writing, the editing and the partnership with a publisher makes the whole experience a deliberate and rather cautious experience.  Blogging– on the other hand – is more concise, more direct, less dependent on a fixed process and more immediate.  This requires risk and courage on the writer’s behalf.  The writing is also more ‘of the moment’ and personal. And after years of restrictive, academic writing – blogging has simply felt too loose.  This is a fascinating ‘blocker’ for someone who is passionately committed to inquiry which is all about risk taking!!!

 Anyway - I think I am getting over all that!  I have been pondering what is “blog worthy” compared to what is “book worthy” and although I am acutely aware of the blurring of boundaries that now exist between all forms of publishing - I am posting something I would never publish in a book.  It is a light hearted way to begin this blog and not intended to set the tone for the coming posts!

 “What a true inquiry teacher would never say” was inspired by a recent trend in the twittersphere  “#whatnoteachersaidever. “  That this trended so quickly was fascinating.

By highlighting the statements we would NOT hear from a teacher – tweeters around the world delighted in acknowledging the hard work and dedication of so many great teachers.  

 This also reminded me that in order to understand what something IS – it can help us to think about what it ISN’T.   I have used this technique many times with students:  Inevitably it is more fun to, for example, devise a role play to show the opposite of team work than it is to show what team work is.  

 So here’s some light-hearted musings on what I DON’T hear from the great inquiry teachers around the world with whom I am so fortunate to work:

 What  good inquiry teacher DON’T say…

 What a great planning session! We have 10 weeks worth of activities all mapped out.

 We do inquiry on Thursday afternoons and Tuesday mornings.

 Here is last year’s unit plan!  Let’s just use this.

 These kids have no real “experiences”

 Oh - I’ve “done”  inquiry learning.

 This is just what we were doing back in the 70’s/80’s/90’s. 

 I did inquiry-based teaching at my old school – it was their policy. I don’t do it.

here because it’s not the policy.

 My kids aren’t thinkers. They just can’t think!

 But what are we going to do for the portfolio?

I use inquiry learning with my top group. They are ready for it.

 I really love inquiry but sometimes I think we just have to TEACH.

 I think this worksheet will be a great way to get them thinking.

 I would do more inquiry-based stuff but we just don’t have time.

 These are the steps the kids go through. I use the same steps every time.

 Let’s each take one part of the cycle and plan some activities for it – then we can just pass them on to each other.

I just seem to have so much time on my hands.

 We won’t know what they’ve learned until they do this summative task.

 This is OK for older kids but the younger students need to be taught the basic skills.

That unit of inquiry was perfect.

 I would use inquiry if I didn’t have so much content to cover.

 That paper and pencil test was so useful.

 If there were more books they could actually read – then we could use an inquiry approach but we just  don’t have the resources for that kind of teaching.

 It’s not fair to teach this way and then send them to high school where they have to get used to text books and a more academic approach.

 We don’t do a unit in April - May because of the national testing.

 These kids need structure  - inquiry is too unstructured for them.

We don’t assess the skills and dispositions.  You can’t really.

 Every question got answered! Every wondering got addressed!

I’m going to teach the content first – so I know I’ve covered the curriculum. Then I give them time to do an inquiry project if we have time.  

 I need to find an activity for all the subject areas.  This topic should infuse my entire program.

 We have to focus on literacy and numeracy before we can get into inquiry learning.

Ahhhhhh….. That was actually rather therapeutic.  I wonder what you would add to the list? What do  these statements say about inquiry learning itself? 

If we know what something isn’t – maybe that’s a sign we know what it is.

 Just wondering....