Not Quite the Final Frontier….Yet
It feels like forever since I did my initial post and without a doubt I fell into the Initiation category of Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process. This was not just within the search process of locating information via expert searching, but also within the production of a blog. My initial uncertainty and vagueness did direct me into active seeking behavior, of how do I produce a ‘good’ blog. I was a bit concerned, the examples were all so professional.
But of course, I had to get to the business of searching. The initial search of what is inquiry learning did conjure some concerns. The right side of my brain just doesn’t compute when there is so much evidence-based research, why inquiry teaching isn’t the mandated, must do way of teaching in schools. This prompted much of my primary research on the topic and guided me towards the essay, in order to gain some clarity.
I am happy to say, there has definitely been satisfaction and accomplishment where I have gained a reasonable grip on the why not. On the back of this success, I have invoked questions concerning how can I, or we, as teacher-librarians influence and change a culture which is so thoroughly entrenched in school communities. I would rest somewhere in the middle of the ISP where there is some confusion and occasional clarity which then returns to confusion. Information continues to be collected as I dip in and out of focus.
I need to, of course, return to my 3 initial questions.
1. How do children with special needs fit and/or are inclusive to inquiry-based projects and/or classrooms?
This question, I have completely neglected, and in all matter of truth had forgotten I had posed it. But it is still very relevant. With not just special needs, but different languages and cultures and indeed indigenous traditions, how can or how does, inquiry learning cater for this difference? I didn’t search for any studies which includes this in their subject base. It would be interesting to discover whether there is much, if any at all.
2. How does an Inquiry based approach fit into a prescribed and mandated curriculum?
This one I believe I can confidently answer with, it can’t. However, it does trigger other questions. For example if only 1 or 2 teachers in a school were a convert to using guided inquiry, how can they effectively teach to the method in their classroom? While the big picture seems obvious, I think for me getting there, if not to be overwhelmed by it, requires further investigation.
3. It is evident that there are many and varied definitions for Inquiry Learning as well as how it is manifested within the classroom. Is it possible that its definition lay in the fact that it cannot be precisely defined, but is adaptable to varying classroom situations?
I think this question can join the conversation of the second question. There is certainly a lot to absorb in the discipline of inquiry learning or guided inquiry. Again, due to my limited knowledge in the area, I am not aware of any ‘movements’ which enlist a precise formula. It does feel there are a lot of individual in the same chapter, but not necessarily on the same page. I expect this good make for a really interesting discussion or forum, which I am sure does exist somewhere out there.
My final conveyance refers to my blog. Although there are many etiquette errors and there is a lot of tidying up and beautification which needs to be done (and will be), it has been a constructive experience. Though extremely frustrating and time-consuming, I do feel some sense of accomplishment even though the presentation needs work.
Kuhlthau, Carol (2013). Information Search Process. Retrieved from http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~kuhlthau/information_search_process.htm