Inquiry learning is a concept I encountered blindly when beginning this course. I had a goal to learn more about it and how to apply it in my classroom, of course, but for the most part I’d been under the impression, even until this week, that inquiry learning is all about what I’m able to get my students to accomplish. I was so focused on this process by which I could get my students to take control of their learning that I failed to see that truly, inquiry learning starts with me! Inquiry learning truly is a process, and preparing for that process is just as important as implementing it. In her article titled “Five Roles of the Inquiry Teacher,” Shelley Wright describes some the of the hiccups involved in the inquiry-based classroom and how important the teacher’s role is in helping students to overcome those issues. In preparing for this, I’ve learned that I must prepare by asking myself, “What difficulties and questions might students have with this?” and try to prepare solutions for these issues should they arrive. However, I can’t very-well give them the solutions, can I? Not with inquiry learning! Therefore, I must also prepare to help students find those solutions. This in itself embodies the definition of inquiry-based learning.
I currently teach 9th grade literature. For my mini-lessons, I plan to explore a concept I teach in my first unit of the year, “The Stages of the Hero’s Journey.” I normally teach the stages and assign a very specific project in which students use a chosen movie to demonstrate their understanding of the stages. However, I’d like to explore ways for students to “discover” these stages and demonstrate their understanding in a new way. I will give more opportunities for the use of technology in not only research, but also in presentation. Perhaps they will even make their own movies to demonstrate the stages!