Journal Entry #23 – How to Plan/Structure Inquiry Based Learning

http://d43fweuh3sg51.cloudfront.net/media/alfresco/u/pr/PBS%20Teachers/PBS%20TeacherLine%20Strategies%20for%20Inquiry-Based%20Learning_5bb4bb2c-475a-46a2-9628-4f99b2e7bb42/36.pdf

After today’s class and discussion one of the points that really stuck with me is how important it is to plan and provide structure. I was trying to think about how structure and planning could relate to my I-Search, then it dawned on me that I don’t have much knowledge on how to plan or properly structure inquiry based learning. One of the components that appeals to me about inquiry based learning is that there is room for creative freedom, discussion and questions; even still, inquiry based learning involves a lot of thoughtful planning in order to provide structure and direction.

I was taking a look at some of the articles about how to plan inquiry based lessons and I discovered just how much planning is involved. There were plenty of ideas and suggestions about how to structure inquiry based learning, i found this template to be straightforward and practical. The template suggests to set goals and objectives, including standards that will be assessed, being aware of students prior knowledge, preparation of materials, preparing a lesson overview and procedure, and conducting ongoing assessment throughout the process.

Even though inquiry based learning allows students a certain amount of freedom it is still important to put thoughtful planning into lessons and creating a general structure to help create and guide the process. I can imagine when I have my own classroom that I will put many hours into planning and creating. I like to have some sort of guide as to what I am teaching and how I plan to teach the subject or lesson to my students. One of my current struggles is realizing that sometimes things do not go according to plan, and that’s okay. I need to learn to be a bit more flexible with my planning and realize that lessons are not set in stone and that sometimes when lessons do veer off course slightly, meaningful lessons can still be learned.

I think teaching involves a healthy balance of structure and freedom. Providing structure does not mean taking away freedom, I believe that flexible planning leads to success. Like most learning, inquiry based learning involves a certain amount of planning too.

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