What are the essential tools for the facilitator of inquiry?
The longer I teach through inquiry, the more I realize that I have much yet to master! I’m not going to lie - inquiry is difficult. No matter how well planned I think I am, facilitating inquiry requires me to be nimble; I have to be willing and able to adjust on the fly. Sometimes I think it’d be easier not to do inquiry.
That being said, there are a few things that I know a teacher must have in their pedagogical toolbox to support inquiry successfully:
- A knack for finding good hooks to inspire curiosity and ignite inquiry
- A feel for the dynamics of your class and the flexibility to act upon it (sometimes you’ll need to tear up your plan to go with the “flow” of the class)
- A good brainstorming protocol for students
- Organizational tools to help students structure their thinking (graphic organizers, planning forms, etc.)
- Rock solid questioning skills
- Poster-sized whiteboards and protocols for using them
- Good discussion protocols for small group and whole class
- A strong grasp of facilitation of small group and whole class collaboration
- A method for delivering timely, effective feedback
- Self & peer feedback protocols
- Methods for facilitating student reflection
- The willingness to ask your students for feedback on your class and the courage to listen to their criticism