I don’t like it when I don’t have it all figured out. It kinda sucks. I’ve been teaching since 1999, and there are many days when I still feel absolutely clueless. This year, I’m working on a TLLP with my partner Lindsay, and it seems like I have to move backward before moving forward.
I brought more inquiry-based tasks into my classroom and provided more freedom for my students. The thing is, progress started to slow down once students began to move past the initial “ideation” stage. Actually, saying that things slowed down is an understatement. Stalled might be more accurate.
I won’t lie: it would be awfully convenient to assume that my students simply don’t have a proper work ethic. The thing is, I’m teaching students about critical thinking, and I need to examine this issue from more than one perspective. If I’m being really honest, the fault isn’t found with my students — it’s found with me.
If I truly want to provide an environment where students can follow their curiosities and passions, they are going to need more support. A framework for learning can help them transition from structured inquiry to free inquiry, making it easier for students to assume more responsibility and leadership.
Now I need to meet with my partner and figure out what this framework is going to look like. If students can depend on the structure for their larger tasks (my responsibility), they will be able to manage their decisions and actions (their responsibility) with greater confidence.
So, it’s time to roll up my sleeves and figure this out (with Lindsay’s help). What does inquiry look like in each of my classes? How can I provide enough structure for students to have the freedom they need?
I have been ruminating a lot on this graphic as well, Colleen, as I work on what inquiry, and student-driven learning might look like in the 7/8 context. Your last question is a humdinger, and one I’m really wrestling with. Onward we go, but please know you’re not alone in the wrestling!
Lisa, I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear from you. I feel like I need anchor charts that help me visualize the structure of inquiry.
I have struggled with the structure idea too. I want to give them free reign but how to set them (and me) up for success has so far eluded me. Ive done so much reading my head hurts. But I clearly see the benefits so onwards we go!
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