Changing to an inquiry driven classroom that allows for student choice in learning seems like a daunting, even frightening, proposition for teachers. I admit, I have not gone so far as to allow students to stray off the path that is “predetermined” by our curriculum. Many teachers fear that if activities are too open ended and prone to failure then the students will fall behind their peers in their respective course and enter the next class in their educational progression behind their classmates. Some teachers also fear that classroom routine and discipline could be adversely affected when students are allowed to find their own way to answer a complex question. I propose that your first throw at this be analogous to bowling with bumpers in that you control how far off track students can stray before your direction pushes them back down the curricular lane.
Here are a few ways in which you might allow students to inquire about a topic with guidance alongside.
Use the guidelines listed above in place and then dive into inquiry based activities. With proper planning, inquiry based learning can transform your classroom to a more student centered, activity based environment that is fun for students and teachers alike.
This post brought to you by Dan Devine, Secondary Implementation Associate
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