1. What are the ways that inquiry has had a positive impact on your teaching and / or student learning?
Incorporating inquiry into our units has proven to have a positive impact on my teaching and more importantly on students learning. Some of the positives that highlight our experiences with inquiry this year:
0 Naturally lent itself to differentiation among the diverse academic needs in my classroom.
0 Increased engagement of all learners.
0 Offered students more choices and more responsibility to take ownership of their learning.
0 Fostered the active use and application of knowledge.
0 Helped students work collaboratively in pairs, teams, and with adults.
0 Gave students opportunities to practice skills they will face as adults (interviewing, writing emails, making phone calls, and engaging with adults and organizations in their community).
2. What are the drawbacks? What are the ways that inquiry still feels uncomfortable? What are you still unsure about?
With the demands of curriculum and the restraints of testing, time and content-specific skills are always in the back of mind as drawbacks to inquiry. I find value in weaving inquiry into the curriculum when it serves as the best avenue towards student learning, but I’m uncomfortable with the idea of making it the focus of all lessons. Even when considering the positive impact on student learning, I think it’s important to incorporate a variety of teaching strategies into our practice. I admit however that this belief may come from the understanding that I'm not sure how to make all content fit into the inquiry model.