One of my goals as a teacher is to become more of a facilitator in my lessons and be able to step back and let the learning happen while students are in charge. That sounds wonderful, but it is not always easy or simple to achieve.
I feel that giving agency to students is not enough, they need to have the tools and the skills to be successful. And then, I find myself wondering and asking all these questions.
What are those tools? What are those skills? How can I start? Where do I start?
We just had a couple of days of PD focused on inquiry and something we talked about was “The Inquiry Five Strategies” If you want to learn more deeply about this, check @inquiryfive on twitter and her website https://www.inquirypartners.com
I was energized and inspired by the new ideas and strategies I learned during the PD and I decided to apply a couple of them that I feel they are somehow related, “Ask More, Talk Less and Stay Curious”
One of the ways to foster curiosity is with provocations and having learners inquiring into something by asking questions. If learners are the ones asking those questions, they become owners of their learning, student agency happens, and as a consequence of them asking more or, talking more, I talk less.
So yesterday I asked grade 5 learners to turn and talk to a partner to share how was their long weekend and if they were able to do something active during that time. I would say that everyone was involved in conversations, which is great to see, listen, and observe.
After warming up with a game, students started reading something I had written on the board to provoke their thinking and hopefully inspire them to formulate some questions.
I had written something like this: The game agreements and the title of Attack and defense.
In addition, I started jotting some questions with the hope that would inspire learners into further inquiry.
A couple of students wondered a couple of things, a few more stood up and wrote some more questions but nothing else happened.
My idea was to foster some curiosity about this “new game,” provoke their thinking and support their conceptual understanding. It didn’t really happen with this class, or if it happened, it wasn’t what I was picturing.
Students were engaged in the games and when I stopped their small sided games they were keen to keep playing and support their team with the different strategies they were coming up with.
I wonder how I could have learners inquiring more during the games rather than me being the one who is most of the time asking those questions.
I wonder if it’s necessary during our PE lessons to try to have learners asking questions or if the fact that they are involved in the tasks and understand the concepts is enough. I feel that for them to ask questions I need to be the one who initiates those conversations. I wonder if other physed colleagues have the same wonders and questions.
Grade 3 is also doing a unit on invasion games and we started playing “Benchball.”
To my surprise, many learners stood up, grabbed a marker and started to write their own questions and wonderings and also the ones from their peers who didn’t want or dare to stand up, which, by the way, was totally fine with me.
They played small-sided games in half court and I was able to stop the games to talk about them, listen to their feelings, frustrations, and concerns, and also to their successes.