Discussion question: In what ways might inquiry disrupt the traditional idea of teacher as expert and learner as novice?

This has to be my #1 favorite and somewhat fearsome concept regarding the inquiry process in the classroom. Traditional teacher/student relationship stems from the teacher “master of the craft” and the student as “disciple in training”. But with inquiry, I think that things are better placed into perspective because the student in the inquiry process can become the teacher. This is a very liberating concept, which I think can scare a lot of educators back into their closets of direct instruction. It may seem “safer” in there and may enable them to conceal their own shortcomings, but additionally it keeps their students in the dark as well. Inquiry is taking our knowledge as educators and showing students that they are creative, bright, inventive members of society who can change the world around them and have something priceless to offer. This occurs because students in inquiry learn they have a voice, an opinion, and ideas that others, including their teacher, may never have perceived. I think that inquiry takes the much used quote “A mind is a terrible thing to waste” and applies it directly where it belongs…to our students. If we are always TELLING them the answers, how will they learn the skills needed to solve their own problems? If we are always MAKING them learn something, how will they cultivate a hunger and desire to discover for themselves something that is relevant and meaningful? I am no expert at inquiry in the classroom, but I have a strong desire to learn. I have witnessed the impact of inquiry in the classroom and know that though it is unorthodox to some, I believe it is a key to bringing students to a place of ownership and responsibility over themselves, their education, and their world. And if we stop and think for a moment, isn’t that the whole purpose of this establishment known as public education?

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