Information isn’t the goal

Amid the half-digested ideas churning in my brain this week, the word connections has kept floating to the top.

One of the posts I read this week was “10 Tips For Launching An Inquiry-Based Classroom” by Katrina Schwartz on MindShift.

Schwartz synthesized the 10 tips from comments by Diana Laufenberg, recognized leader in the Inquiry Schools model. (Whether the comments were made in a personal interview or some other forum is not specified.)

The point of inquiry learning (I’m hopelessly oversimplifying here) is to increase students’ learning by getting them to ask questions and investigate the answers.

What struck me as I read the post was how often the terms information and content were mentioned. My gut instinct tells me that Laufenberg probably doesn’t use those terms to mean facts, or specific bits of data.

I’m pretty sure the focus of inquiry learning is concepts and applications, the levels at which learning gives structure to those little bits and begins to make the learning useful in other contexts than the one in which it was acquired.

In my view, helping students make connections between something they are studying at the moment and other lessons, other subjects, and especially to non-school activities is the point of getting students to seek answers.

I suspect Laufenberg thinks so, too, but just didn’t have time enough to say more on the subject.

I suggest you read the post at MindShift and see what questions it suggests to you.