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Inquiry Learning

Let’s talk for a minute about one of my favorite ways to teach. While all teachers have a variety of ways to approach instruction, one of my favorites is the model of inquiry learning. Inquiry learning focuses on teaching students how to learn. In an environment based in inquiry we are not reciting facts and figures, nor are we checking off boxes on a standardized form. One of the greatest benefits of inquiry learning is that it is student centered. Using this model, students are asked to be an integral part of the learning process; no longer will students only sit and take in what the instructor has to offer. In an inquiry learning environment, students will be engaged both as learners and as teachers. Ultimately, inquiry puts the onus on the student in the process of creating meaning. When using inquiry learning models, teachers must design learning experiences that allow students to examine, investigate, question, and reflect so that they can become aware of their own learning styles, processes, and strategies. I’m sure at this point most of you out there listening to “Worlds Awaiting” are finding this all very interesting, but are now wondering how it applies to you. Well, have you ever been a recipient of the questions: Why is the sky blue? Why do people get sick? Why can’t I stay up past ten? If you have ever been in this situation, then you have been at the forefront of an inquiry learning experience (although you may not have known what to call it). I find that inquiry is a natural state for learning. Almost every great invention or scientific discovery had a problem behind it. Great inventors and scientists confronted these problems by asking questions and then using a variety of methods to discover a solution. This process used for centuries to create the world we now live in is the process of inquiry. As human beings we naturally question, and then it is our natural inclination to work to find the answers to these questions. So here at “Worlds Awaiting” we advocate for inquiry learning; we say bring on the questions because it is one of the right ways to nurture independent, actively engaged learners.

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host, WORLDS AWAITING


DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.


21st Century Skills

There is a lot of talk in education today about how we can ensure that students are ready for college and the workplace. We want students to independently be able to apply the skills needed for success in these venues. While all skills related to literacy—reading, writing, speaking, listening—are important, there is a broader set of literacy skills we address that are termed 21st Century Skills. These skills focus is on the patterns of thinking and communication that students will be expected to engage in throughout their lives and into the future. This changes our focus from not only reading, writing, and math, but also puts in on communication, collaboration, creativity, problem-solving, technology, citizenship, information literacy, and life skills. These new skills are the complex aspects of education. Sadly, many of the current educational approaches often focus more on what could be considered lower levels of thinking. However, these lower level skills are not always those that are necessary to compete in the twenty-first century environments. Modern colleges and workplaces require higher order skills such as analysis and synthesis. This does not mean that we will abandon lower order skills in any way (comprehension and knowledge skills are still fundamental), but we are being asked to diversify our understanding of all the skills that make a person literate. With an increased emphasis on 21st Century Skills that require higher order thinking, it is now up to teachers, librarians, parents, aunts and uncles, and grandmas and grandpas to start thinking about how we can help our children refine and use their abilities to discover, use, and apply all of these skills now and in the future. Our children need to become good communicators, have opportunities to collaborate with others as a team, authentically express their creativity while problem-solving, and engage as citizens of a global work. Here at Worlds Awaiting we believe that combined with the basics of reading, writing, speaking, and listening, the critical 21st Century Skills are going to help make children ready for college and workplace.

 

By Rachel Wadham, Host, WORLDS AWAITING


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/21st_century_skills

 

DISCLAIMER:

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.