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Deborah Hazen's picture

Thoughts on Inquiry

  • What does inquiry mean to you?

Inquiry is asking questions--it is a structured process in that it is bounded by a unifying theme, it is an expansive process in that it encourages interdisciplinary exploration. It is pursuing topics that students are interested in as a way of teaching approaches to thinking, basic skills and content, and hopefully arriving at new ideas. Inquiry is both transactional and reflective. Inquiry gives students and teachers the opportunity to learn together and arrive at new questions together. Inquiry is education as social dialogue.

  • How have you or how would you like to use inquiry-based education in your classroom?

We use inquiry (as I've defined it) most effectively in science and social studies. Thematic units are held together by overarching questions, I share information and activities to extend student background knowledge and model inquiry, students then choose a focus that they explore and share with their classmates--after student topics/directions are chosen, I fill in areas that I believe are important through mini-lessons. We don't use textbooks, rather we make every attempt to engage with material/situations/problems to generate understanding and new questions.

I'm interested in extending the inquiry model to math and language arts.


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