Teachers' Role in Inquiry
To enable young children's learning and trust in their own thinking, you will need to exemplify the way children will need to be. To do this, take on the disposition of inquiry as a way of life. “A commitment to inquiry—as something that all humans must do to improve their lives and those of others—is an important theme for professional development” (National Research Council, 2000, p. 109). This will take many forms. In the classroom you will readily assess the thinking of children and implement this thinking into the evolving curriculum. You will also be involved with the children in applying inquiry to the subject at hand. As discoveries are made you will continue observing and applying and assisting children in their inquiry process.
Your process of inquiry…continues beyond the classroom. Be open to inquiry as you marvel at events in nature and/or technology, such as noting the path of the Monarch butterfly as it begins its slow, fluttering journey south for the winter months…. As you experience the aesthetics found in nature…these become an aspect of the inquiring person that the child can sense from knowing you.
In addition you, as an adult, will have an interest, a curiosity, a questioning attitude in life…..By living in ways that admire, enjoy, and investigate life, as teacher you will be able to admire, enjoy, and investigate life along with the children. In this way you are instrumental in supporting children’s abilities to embrace the advancing world through inquiry. (Prairie, 2005, pp. 367-368)
National Research Council. (2000). Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards: A guide for teaching and learning. Washington, DC: National Acadamies Press.
Prairie, A. P. (2005). Inquiry into math, science, and technology for teaching young children. Clifton Park, NY:Thomson Delmar Learning.