Incorporating Intentional Inquiry

P1: Practice intentional inquiry and planning for instruction. In my opinion, this standard has to do with reversing the top-down teacher to student relationship. Instead of assuming we know what students need, even if those assumptions are well-informed, intentional inquiry suggests that we employ student voice when planning for instruction. This can be done in a variety of different ways, but during my internship, I used entrance and exit tickets as ways to encourage students to initiate prior learning, reflect, and self-assess, as well as to inform my lesson planning. I would ask students to weigh in on strategies and activities that worked well for them, specific ways in which lesson clarified their understanding, ways in which they were still confused, and specific content areas or skills in which students felt they still needed support or clarification. For example, after concluding the reading of the novel, The Things They Carried, my junior classes were to complete an essay as their final writing assessment of the year. BHS and these classes in particular, heavily emphasize the development of writing skills through practice, so my students had already written multiple essays in response to various texts studied throughout the year. These students are very familiar with the essay writing process now, and are growing more confident in their ability to develop, organize and present their own ideas. As is her habit, my mentor teacher handed back the previous essay the students had written the day before they were to begin crafting their final essay for the year. As an exit ticket for the day, I had students evaluate their essays by identifying two areas of strength and two areas of weakness or areas they needed additional support before writing their last essay.

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This intentional inquiry not only provided students with an opportunity for reflection and self-assessment, but also provided me the opportunity to tailor and differentiate instruction, so as to support the unique needs of the students in each class. Not only did students receive specific support, but also, they felt they had agency in their education and were actively engaged during my support lessons because they recognized that I trusted their self-assessments, I listened and responded, and when given the opportunity, they wanted to improve. Intentional inquiry allows educators to make learner-centered decisions about how best to tailor and differentiate instruction. According to Models of Teaching by Bruce Joyce, Marsha Weil, and Emily Calhoun, research suggests that “inquiry-oriented curriculums appear to stimulate growth in other; apparently unconnected areas” (2009, pg. 88). Intentional inquiry not only initiates prior learning and encourages the making of new connections through reflection and critical thinking, but also invites students to be more actively engaged in their own learning. When students participate as active members of the discovery process, they are more likely to remember the information taught and apply critical thinking skills in the future, which are key reasons that I will continue to use intentional inquiry as a means of providing purposefully designed lessons and activities.

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EDU 6526- Questioning as a Teaching Strategy

Questioning is an effective teaching element used to engage students in the classroom. Proposed questions and inquiries allow students to share conceptual understanding and often what is shared may be useful additions to the other students’ understanding. Providing planned questions and allowing students to answer them, allows for the circulation of new ideas and new information. Students are able to then respond and verbally process the information they are acquiring and the collaborative aspect can lead to deeper understanding for all. Questions allow a teacher to gauge understanding and provide an opportunity for the collection of feedback. In Models of Teaching by Bruce Joyce, Marsha Weil, and Emily Calhoun, research suggests that “inquiry-oriented curriculums appear to stimulate growth in other; apparently unconnected areas” (pg. 88, 2009).

As students consider the answer to questions, they connect important concepts to a larger framework and as active members of the discovering process, they are more likely to remember the information taught and apply critical thinking skills in the future. Additionally, asking students to come prepared to class with questions or inquiries provides a springboard for conversation about specific areas of confusion or interest. Questioning is a constructive teaching strategy for the collaborative collection of feedback. These aspects of questioning as a teaching strategy will be invaluable as a future educator. The link below provides basic but valuable information about how to effectively employ questioning in the classroom:

Questioning Strategies—University of Delaware’s Center for Teaching and Learning: http://cte.udel.edu/publications/handbook-graduate-assistants/questioning-strategies.html

Joyce, B., Weil, M., Calhoun, E. (2009). Models of Teaching. United States of America: Pearson Education, Inc.