Inquiry Based Learning…. Inquiry Based Leadership

Day 5

images (1)  You don’t have to go too far these days before  you hear IBL ~ Inquiry Based Learning. Simply   stated, IBL is a process whereby the students’ interests and questions provide the springboard   for the learning.  Their curiosity becomes the catalyst for the gateway into the curriculum.  If     your students are enthralled with the world events, such as the earthquake in Nepal or a construction site that they passed on their way to school, the challenge for the teacher becomes   taking that excitement and curiosity and blending it with learning activities that coincide with  curriculum expectations.   Passion projects and Genius Hour are also examples of IBL or Project Based Learning.  Educators, who have embraced the concept of IBL, acknowledge the challenges, but they also see the benefits and are willing to learn alongside of each other and their students.

So…. In reflecting on Inquiry Based Learning and seeing first-hand the benefits, I started to think about Inquiry Based Leadership and what that might look like in a school setting.  Do we purposefully create the conditions for our educators to be curious about something in their practice and if so, how do we effectively support that curiosity?  When we think about ways of supporting educator learning, do we predetermine what that will look like or do we allow for “passion projects” and differentiate how we, as leaders, construct learning for our educators?  We know that, just as the learning that happens in a classroom needs to be aligned with the curriculum, the learning of our educators needs to be aligned with our school and board improvement plans.  How do we effectively navigate those discussions while still maintaining our educator’s passion/curiosity for professional learning?

And finally, in a world of Inquiry Based Leadership do we model our own curiosity and passion for wanting to learn the “why” behind achievement gaps, public perception of our schools, attendance rates etc.?

It may not be an earthquake or a cement mixer, but wanting to gain a deeper understanding of our world of educational leadership and knowing how to go about getting that deeper understanding is a skill that we all need to embrace.

Do you model curiosity with your class or with your staff?

Cultivate Curiosity Resized

Are you an Inquiry Based Leader?

Come write with me…

5 thoughts on “Inquiry Based Learning…. Inquiry Based Leadership

  1. sue, I think teacher (or principal) collaborative inquiry is what you refer to here. There is an excellent CBS monograph on this. If we build structures in our schools for continuous school improvement using collaborative inquiry and keep at it, everyone, from students to SO’s could be involved.

  2. Great question about the tension between managing and inquiring minds! I’m wondering what needs to happen in order for the managers to trust the process of inquiry and be “OK” with it’s messiness!

  3. I think there are good examples all over our TVDSB booard where administrators and their schools have stepped away from the party line and set a course for their own IBL in a sense. I know it’s much easier to handle and manage a lock/step concept of “everyone must have a Literacy goal / or everyone must have a Numeracy goal” and there are even those that would prescribe how those goals need to look and how they should run. Bravo to the schools who say “We think we have a better way” and then go ahead and do it!

    Are senior admin confident enough in those they have put in positions of leadership that they could free up each school administrator to figure out what “passion project” their school could handle and then go about making it happen? Would Program Services staff and all the various Learning Coordinators / Learning Supervisors / Coaches feel able to get out there and support many different schools exploring their own IBL passions? Or is it better to guidelines, rules and procedures and then require that everyone follow those – is not that easier to manage? Have we become so big that “managing” is more important than inquiring minds.

    The CEO of Pixar spoke at The Brave Ones this past week and talked about the importance of building teams that hadn’t worked together too long. Of having experience, but also some on the team that didn’t have a clue how the movie would get made. It was in the collaboration of that tension that the best work was done. That might work in the movie industry, not sure it works in education. Maybe we are just too ingrained.

  4. What a great question? When I think of inquiry based learning at the table with colleagues, it is about listening to a narrative. What intrigues the educator? How might they engage at a level that is deep and passionate? How do they see themselves In the curriculum?
    I often wonder if the curriculum is contextually based and therefore can children in unison with educators can and do determine the impact and influence of global issues expressed and understood at a local level can connect in real time? Within inquiry based learning are we really looking at understanding concepts rather than the sparkle?
    It is within these conceptual understandings that deeper meaning can be teased out.

  5. Wonderful questions for us to think about Sue. “How do we effectively navigate those discussions while still maintaining our educator’s passion/curiosity for professional learning?” There is so much we can learn from our younger students who are questioning all the time, looking for the why and exploring their passions. I believe if we continue to look for the connections between our passion/curiosity and our goals we will continue our professional learning journey as we work through our roadmaps.

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