As an English trained teacher I remember how daunting it was when I first entered the international teaching market and I had to suddenly know about inquiry based approaches to learning. This is something that the National Curriculum and OFSTED were not interested in developing whilst I was teaching in London – rather there was a focus moving from a skills based approach to the curriculum to a knowledge based curriculum. I remember seeing the PYP planners and reading the material provided on the IB website and thinking:
- This is great, but what does it look like in the classroom?
- What on Earth is a concept based curriculum?
- How does the teaching of reading, writing and maths fit into this approach?
I was lost, in the dark and did not have a clue where to start. Suffice to say, I didn’t get a job at an IB World School! However, in my first international school (which used the IPC and IMYC) I was fortunate enough to be placed on the online course ‘An Introduction to the PYP Curriculum Model’ run by the IB. Great I thought, I am finally going to know what this looks like and incorporate it into my own practise – alas this was not the case. Whilst I was better versed in the terminology and meaning of phrases like ‘transdisciplinary themes’, ‘concepts’ and ‘learner profile’ I still didn’t have the foggiest about how to introduce an inquiry based learning approach to my classroom and nobody could provide me with resources to do this.
I do not believe I am the only person who has been in this situation and I thought I would write this post to help others in the same predicament. This post wouldn’t exist if it were not for my current schools excellent curriculum coordinator, Mason McCormick, who tweets under @mmccormick87. He introduced me to the power of Twitter as well as number of valuable blogs. I now could see into the classrooms of teachers who have been using an inquiry based approach to learning for many years, read blog posts from people whom I could trust as leaders in the field and begin to incorporate inquiry based learning approaches into my own classroom. To help others who have been the same situation please find below links to some of the blogs and Twitter handles I have found useful – this is just a starting point there are many more to find!
What are your experiences starting out using inquiry based approaches to learning? Are there any Twitter handles or bloggers you would recommend? Please leave your comments in the box below.