An opportunity for inquiry…

The historic railway station in Tel Aviv, opposite the Mediterranean Sea,  has been restored and redeveloped into ‘Hatachana’ (The Station), a trendy centre with shops, cafes and galleries. Yet the historical and architectural integrity give visitors an authentic sense of how the place used to be. Trains ran through here, on the Jaffa-Jerusalem line, from 1892 to 1948.  Apparently this was the ‘first railway line between Little Asia and Egypt and the first means of transportation to replace the camel as the mode of transport for heavy loads taken over long distances’.

Visiting yesterday, I noticed several school groups being shown around, while enthusiastic guides shared the history of the place.  I observed a group of school kids and what I saw was typical of school children in most of the world. The guide talked. Up the front, a curious, attentive group of students listened and asked questions. Others tuned in and out as their eyes and minds wandered. Small groups at the back chatted amongst themselves and paid no attention to the guide at all.

It’s a place they could experience history in a hands-on way, exploring and finding things out for themselves. With some planning and guidance, they could investigate questions, find evidence, uncover new information and make connections to other learning. Delivery of factual information does not automatically result in learning. Yet so many classrooms still have that expectation.

I’m glad I work in a PYP school and am constantly growing my understanding of the way inquiry learning works. It means learners have an opportunity to take  control of their own learning through…

  • exploring, wondering and questioning
  • experimenting and playing with possibilities
  • making connections between previous learning and current learning
  • making predictions and acting purposefully to see what happens
  • collecting data and reporting findings
  • clarifying existing ideas and reappraising perceptions of events
  • deepening understanding through the application of a concept
  • making and testing theories
  • researching and seeking information
  • taking and defending a position
  • solving problems in a variety of ways.    (Making the PYP Happen)

I’ve quoted this before and I’m sure I will again, especially since further embedding inquiry as a stance in teaching and learning will be part of my new role in 2011. The more I experiment with inquiry learning, the more I want to explore the possibilities…

I learn by inquiry too.

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One thought on “An opportunity for inquiry…

  1. I have recently found your blog and enjoy your reflections. I am currently working in an international school with an American curriculum but next fall I will be teaching at a PYP school. I am really excited. I would love to hear what professional development books you would recommend for someone like me to be reading now. Thanks for your help!

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