Journal Entry #10, The Inquiry Based Learning Teacher

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/11/do-you-have-the-personality-to-be-an-inquiry-based-teacher/

So, after i decided I would focus my I-Search on inquiry based learning I began to think… What is required of a teacher who chooses to include inquiry based learning in her classroom? Inquiry based learning is not for everyone and I can imagine some teachers prefer instruction (the teacher instructs and the students listen) over involvement (the teacher provides opportunities for students to become involved in their own learning) and that is their right to prefer one over the other. Are there certain kinds of personalities that align better with inquiry based learning than others? I would imagine so. Based on my understanding inquiry involves flexibility and collaboration and some people struggle when it comes to working collaboratively with others and being flexible.

The question posed in the article is: “How do we identify, attract, nurture, and train teachers who have an “inquiry-friendly” personality?” The author discusses how something as simple as stepping out from the front of the class to interact with students and attempting guide them through a problem is a simple step towards a more collaborative education. The article discusses how genuine care for students is a key component for successful inquiry learning to take place. This makes a lot of sense to me, because of the involvement required for inquiry based learning to take place teachers need to care enough about what their students think and what they have to say. This is an element of inquiry learning I had not considered before now but I can certainly understand the connection between care and inquiry. To conclude, the article discusses how personality traits can play an important role in whether a teachers personality is compatible with some of the requirements of inquiry based learning. The reader is asked to reflect whether she is optimistic, open, appreciative, flexible and purposeful. I can see how these personality traits would be linked with successful and meaningful inquiry based learning as they require a certain level of creativity, caring, and reflection.

Here are some of the quotes that stood out the most to me:

“If an inquiry-based system is to succeed, we’ll need human beings in the classroom who know their field, but who also radiate the kind of positive, non-judgmental love that helps students open their minds and hearts.”

 “caring relationships are the key factor in helping young people flourish—a term that encompasses the core attitudes necessary for successful inquiry and deeper learning.”

It’s no longer about telling; it’s about listening, observing, and creating the channel of trust that opens up a personal connection between two individuals.

These quotes leave me feeling optimistic because I feel like they align with my own personal values of what it means to be a good teacher and a positive role model to children and my future students. I think it is so important to create trust between student and teacher and to let students know that you genuinely care. In my own work experience I have worked with children who have been challenging but at the end of the day I always find something to like about that child, so that even when they are stressing me out I can ground myself and remind myself to be reasonable and caring in my treatment of this child. I have found that when children feel cared for they really flourish – socially, emotionally, cognitively. When they know that you care and that you are there to help they take risks and step out of their comfort zones! I could go on and on… I feel like optimism, openness, appreciativeness, flexibility and purpose are traits that I possess and this again makes me feel hopeful inquiry based learning is a compatible match for my personality traits and values of what it means to be a good teacher.

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