My Relationship with Inquiry based learning

Inquiry is a term that I first learned in my second year of education, at this point I hated it. Not only was it confusing for me but it was really poorly explained. At first I found that it was way more complicated to teach inquiry than to teach traditionally. Later in my second year I got to experience a different type of inquiry. This method discussed that a unit is focused around one essential question, but students get to design what they want to know about the topic and how they want to research, create and present what their question, or wonder is based around the topic. This confused me even more, how can I create a different lesson for every student to fit their personal interests. The more I learned about inquiry the less I liked the idea of using it to teach. I got to see it used in multiple classes, in Science using the 5Es; Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. This made me so confused, how can every single lesson be part of an inquiry unit, but it is all teacher guided, and than the unit is inquiry as a whole. There is way to much miscommunication for the students, you are questions students but almost direct teaching them, but the students are not really forming their own questions or ideas, they are just going off of what the teacher is saying. I then did a class where I had to create an inquiry unit based off the art curriculum, it was not until this point that I could actually see how inquiry can be used and taught in a way that has the students using one topic, but creating their own representation of what they learn.  Once I finished creating the unit for art education, I started to realize why I have had so many problems with the inquiry assignments in the past. The first reason is that not every unit can be inquiry based, some units are more information based, or can be taught through directed projects. Rather than stretching units to fit inquiry based learning, it is better to allow inquiry to happen in units naturally.  I am willing to teach inquiry for some units, but not all. I think that there is more than one way to teach, and while inquiry is going to be one way to teach students, I also want to use other methods of teaching such as project based learning, assignment based learning, and having occasionally tests/ quizzes. Some material has to be taught directly, and than the students can apply it to other situations that occur in real life situations. There is a time from inquiry teaching, but it is not the only method to teach.

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