My First Foray Through IBL

Teacher! Teacher!

My First Foray Through Inquiry Based Learning and the Canyon Inquiry Project

by Karen Randle

Traditional Teachers,

You Are Missing Out!

Teacher! Teacher! I need you.

Teacher! Teacher! I don’t understand this.

Teacher! Teacher! OMG!!!!! Mr. and Mrs. Principal can you give me a break!

Yes, you thought I was going to chastise a student for the repeated requests; for the appropriate call for help; for not calling me by my name.

Oh contraire, Mon Fraire.

The repeated requests from administrators can sometimes wreak havoc on teachers. After all, we have so much to do on a daily basis, of course. These tasks don’t include the pressure added - or the gray hairs earned - during the end of year assessments. Oh, don’t forget to get in those PD hours. Geesh.

When do we ever get to teach? When do the students ever get to really engage in a project that’s meaningful – to them? I can’t even begin to tell of the number of times a student has said to me, “Ms. Randle, when am I ever gonna use algebra in real life?”

I’ve found that what students really want to know, I can’t teach. I just can't. No. Not because I’m not bright enough (really, Marv) but because I simply don’t have the time to teach what they want to learn.

Enter stage right – Inquiry Based Learning.

Yes, by now you’ve taken a look at my web page and learned I’ve embarked on the IBL journey. And what a journey it has been. Allow me to take a minute to be selfish and share my experience.

(Clearing my throat…)

"Fellow countrymen, staff and students. You are missing out!" Okay. Okay. I will get off the soap box but... Yes. You are missing out an opportunity to not only get to know your students - you know it’s important to build relational capacity - but you are missing out on getting to know you, your grit and what you are made of. (Excuse the improper grammar. I’m “learning” you something.)

Supporting students through the inquiry process can be messy and for most of us, I mean the really good educators, we like things to flow. We like order. We love systems. But, not all students can work the way we'd like them to work - our way! Yes, we can go through the types of learners, yada, yada.