I have been a huge fan of Inquiry based learning since my days at University in Australia. I believe it is the most engaging and challenging method of teaching where children move from wondering position to an understanding and further questioning state.
“If we are only teaching what we know, our children can only do as bad as we are doing and this is the challenge we are facing – we have to go beyond it.”(Pauli, 2009. Tedx)
It is interesting how Inquiry based learning helps in teaching math concepts. I am one of those adults who dreaded math as a child. So, when I was asked to teach Angles to Grade 3 as a graduate teacher, I knew I had to overcome my Angle phobia if I want students sitting right in front of me to learn angles and remember them all through their lives. A day before I had an inquiry session with the whole class so that I knew what I have to do and how I have to make angles a lifelong concept in the students’ minds.
I still wonder what it is about Right angle (is it in the name or is it the most exploited angle) that out of the three angles most students in the world somehow remember it. I still remember going through all different resources and trying to match them up with and how students in the class can learn. I decided upon a short play with three characters- ACUTE, OBTUSE AND RIGHT. It was an instant hit and everybody in the class wanted to have a go.
Today when I look back and think about that session, I can feel a sense of achievement. I think the inquiry session and integrating math with drama just did what I wanted students to learn that day.
Math is not about confusion and abstract formulas. Math is about wondering, creatively thinking, creatively solving problem and understanding it forever.
I have listed some of my favourite ways inquiry could be used in everyday learning and planning. If you have great ideas on inquiry learning in the classroom do share them on this blog. It is always interesting to see what educators are and can do to make learning a pleasant positive experience.
ASK – My favourite one, ask questions.
EXPLAIN – Ask students to explain individually or as a group.
INTERVIEW – Ask students to interview classmates about what they know.
MIND MAP – Create a mind map.
DRAW – Students can draw what they know and explain.
Keep sharing till my next blog.