If inquiry falls on deaf ears……does anybody hear?

Inquiry……when?..where? …..how?…..

I often wonder what happens to inquiry when it’s not heard or seen. Not recognized. We normally celebrate and acknowledge verbal and written inquiry. It is celebrated. What about authentic inquiry that goes unnoticed? What about inquiry that happens later on, at home, after school or during quiet reflection? Or more impotantly, what happens to inquiry that goes unnoticed right under our noses?

I began noticing in my own practice that things that interested learners even though not related to our unit kept coming up, especially during share time (I teach Grade 1). I felt I was often dismissing these natural events of spontaneous inquiry due to time constraints. Spontaneous inquiry. I thought about it. I thought about how many times this natural inquiry came up, kids were engaged yet it seemed less valuable because it wasn’t related to inquiry I wanted them to inquire into (ie: our unit).

So the next part of my own journey and awakening was to first acknowledge this spontaneous inquiry. Second, what to do with it once I’ve recognized it as an act of inquiry. There is a difference between a question and an act of inquiry. I managed to uncover many acts of inquiry that were right under my nose during share time.

The outcome? I identified these nuggets of spontaneous inquiry and  acknowledged them  in some way. Some ideas led to further questions, others did not. However the culture of asking  questions and wondering became stronger. By taking an interest in what kids want to know about and being a flexible educator, we were able to explore ideas, and value all inquiry, no matter how subtle.

About Jason Graham

I am a Digital Literacy Coach in Indonesia. I am from Vancouver but now call Melbourne home. I have lived in Indonesia for over twenty years and enjoy sports and travel. I enjoy making stuff, photography and learning with and from others.
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1 Response to If inquiry falls on deaf ears……does anybody hear?

  1. whatedsaid says:

    Thanks for your first post here, Jason. True inquiry is so much about listening carefully to what learners ask and say (and what they don’t!). Sometimes great questions that don’t seem to fit into the current inquiry unit can go up on a wonder wall (real wall or online wallwisher) for kids to explore in their own time. Sometimes they can go on a class blog for others to respond to. Sometimes kids need to go off and inquire on their own, then come back and share. And sometimes asking the child how her question connects to the unit can be both revealing and thought provoking!


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