Kath Murdoch's post 'Establishing a Culture of Inquiry Through Inquiry' caught my eye. In it she discussed some of the questions we might ask of students so that they are involved in designing the learning and developing a learning community in the classroom. Questions like "What do we need we find out about each other? How could we go about this?", "What should I (as your teacher) learn about you?" and my personal favourite, "What are you most curious about when you think about the year ahead?".
Taryn Bond Clegg showed what inquiry in the first week might look like with her post 'What Does an Inquiry- based First week of School Look Like?', I loved that students were invited to post their questions first rather than being told what the teacher thought they needed to know and their questions were honoured. "If Mrs Griffin was the answer, what might the question be?" was a great way to value students' questions as well as helping the students get to know their teacher.
Then this morning Leigh Hynes shared her post 'Okay - It's the First Week of School - What am I going to do with my students?', discussing how teachers in secondary schools might define their role through their actions, whilst developing strong relationships with their class and ensuring students understand the relevance of what they will be learning. In Secondary Schools, especially in the higher levels with the focus on achieving qualifications, it is very easy to lose sight of what really matters in a classroom in the rush to fit everything in.
So as you move through this first month of school here a a few questions to keep in mind:
- How are you modelling and developing an inquiring disposition in the classroom?
- How much agency do students have?
- When deciding things like what groups will be called or how the furniture will be placed, have you asked the kids?
- Do all students feel that they are accepted, welcomed and part of a learning community? How were students involved in that happening?
- How well do you understand the purpose and relevance of what the students are learning?
- How well do students understand the purpose and relevance of what they are learning?
- Are you a role model in the classroom? Do your actions match what you are asking of students?
- How well do you know the students in the class and how much do they know about you?
- Who owns the learning?
- How will parents/whānau be involved in the learning?