“We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.” ~ John Dewey
I began my exploration into inquiry learning perceiving inquiry as an expedition which required exploring many paths with a backpack of information literacy supplies to help navigate the journey.
In this second chapter of the inquiry learning journey, I have come to see myself as a co-inquirer or co-explorer with my students (Golding, 2013; Goldberg, 2017). Inquiry learning encourages teachers to see themselves as an expedition educator or progress guide (not a tour guide) where teachers, alongside their students, cultivate and model curiosity and, in doing so, visit places they have never been before. Furthermore, like any travel adventure, the value of the journey lies in the connections with fellow travellers and the broader world (Murdoch, 2017).
During inquiry learning, teachers are intentional, observant and responsive but they also realise the value of releasing control and power to allow students to explore, figure out and make meaning not by themselves but rather FOR themselves.
The beauty of inquiry learning is that it encourages time for reflection. As I acknowledged in the origins of my journey, there are sure to be mishaps, mistakes and wrong turns along the way. However, inquiry learning emphasises that these deviations from the itinerary are learning opportunities and encourage students and teachers to think more deeply about their learning.
I have loved inquiry learning for quite some time. Nonetheless, this journey has encouraged me to reflect on my approach to inquiry learning and I have learnt so much about how to improve my classroom practices. I look forward to being able to collaborate and share the love of inquiry learning more with my colleagues, students and the wider world in the future.
In the true spirit of inquiry, I am left with a number of questions:
- How can I best share the love of the (inquiry learning) journey with others?
- How can I collaborate more effectively with my students, other teachers and the school librarian to enhance student learning?