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Mary Ellen McGinnity's picture

Inquiry Education

The large and small group discussions were interesting and raised some questions for me. One of the things I try to monitor is whether I'm talking too much. My education background was mostly listening with very little questioning. I don't want to be that type of teacher.  As the groups shared their thoughts, I kept redefining inquiry based education. I think it would present itself differently, based on the type of school you're in and the grade level. There are many issues that appear to be non-conducive to inquiry education. However, I agree that it's important to begin at some level in our own classroom setting. If I had to describe what an inquiry-based classroom would look like, I'd say that initially the teacher would create an atmosphere of comfort and rapport between students as well as between teacher and students as rules, expectations, and goals were explained. Lessons would be interspersed with "why" "why not" "how" "what if" and students would be encouraged to do the same as they worked independently, cooperatively, at home, etc. Questioning techniques would be modeled by the teacher so that students were helped to recognize the importance of critical thinking as they learned. Then, the teacher would capitalize on opportunities to encourage inquiry (whole/small group) in various lessons.

***Keep in mind that I teach 1st grade***

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