Inquiry in the Classroom: What Teachers Need

teacher-leadersDiscipline-based inquiry results in highly engaged students and teachers who say they are more reflective when it comes to task design and their practice, generally. But the Focus on Inquiry study also revealed misunderstandings about inquiry in the classroom.

Teachers and Galileo Educational Network mentors identified the following factors that would help to cultivate a spirit of inquiry that is more easily properly understood:

  • Time to collaborate and plan. Providing embedded time during the school day means teachers will be more comfortable and enthusiastic with designing, teaching, and assessing.

“The opportunity to have sessions like this helps to further my practice and also know what other schools in my area are working on. My school has been able to give planning time, PD sessions, and half-day sub time to help facilitate this work.”

  • More opportunities to learn about leadership through professional learning.

“I need PD that challenges the way I am doing things now….I want to take it to the next level and change.”inquiry-pl

  • Ongoing support and collaboration from school administrators. This includes steadily moving staff forward, while valuing teachers’ individual time to collaborate on inquiry-rooted designs, tasks, activities, lessons and assessments. Principles of the Teaching Effectiveness Framework should be considered background to all this.
  • Strengthening of professional learning networks. This includes more cohesive, school-wide, and focused PD.

“We have time, but it’s not used effectively. We need a clear PD focus that reflects student need, an established plan to meet this need, effective communication and support from all levels of school, and a commitment to follow through.”

  • More practice is needed in developing deeper understanding of designing worthwhile, rich, complex tasks with an inquiry stance. Teachers said they’d like additional time practicing authentic task design and formative assessment, and some indicated a list of recommended reading, or additional sessions with Galileo mentors.

Chapter 1 of the Focus on Inquiry digital resource is all about building a culture of inquiry. Check it out here.

Download the full Focus on Inquiry report here.

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