Why Inquiry Learning Pairs Well With Who We Are From Day One

The Journey Begins At The Moment of Birth

All of us are on an inquiry journey from the moment we are born. We are thrust out into the world from a warm, safe and comforting world in which we hear the breathing and heartbeat of our mothers.  In those first moments and initial first breaths our senses are overloaded.  We are listening to harsh new sounds, we are feeling cooler air dance over our thin layer of skin, we are intrigued by our newest sensations of tastes, some harsher than others, we are nearly blinded by the bright lights that invade our eyes and with that initial breath we drew ignited the array of receptors in our noses to open another exciting new platform of learning.  We were beginning the inquiry to understand our world through all of our senses.  Every object, every new sound, every new taste or feeling feeds our need to understand who we are.

As that initial inquiry journey unfolds we seek new sensations to stimulate understanding and broaden our connection to this world.  That inquiry continues at a rapid pace in those first few years. We grasp a language. We learn about balance. We know the comfort of our parent or caregiver. We taste a wild array of substances, as we discern sweet, sour, bitter, salty, crunchiness, slipperiness, roughness, tightness and we smile.  When young kids are exposed to anything new to them, they smell it, lick it, shake it, roll it between their fingers and bounce it, talk to it. They are exploring their world with all their senses in an ongoing inquiry.

When we are still toddlers, everyday it is new to us as new sensations emerge around us.  We are driven to understand our world with all of our senses. It is a guided inquiry with our caretakers and parents keeping, or trying to keep us safe, as we learn about our world.  We are on an independent study. It is satisfying and motivating, almost everyday.  We are learning something new, everyday.

For those first five years of our life our physical growth continues and our connection to our world continues.  Then we step into a classroom and the independent and self directed learning is replaced by a dependence on a teacher. Teachers are recognized as the holder of all new knowledge and that independence that these young learners had, turns into dependence.  That independence evolves over time as repetition in learning commences. We know most kids come into a classroom in the fall knowing anywhere from 23% to 85% of the content being delivered that school year.  They have an option: play school as school leaders want you to do or don’t play at all and disrupt the controlled setting they have been thrust into each September.

We are naturally curious. That curiosity can be messy.  It is our nature.  But because of the way school is structured and controlled that messiness generates a need by those in charge to seek control of the setting, in ways that is counter to the way we all have learned before school.  All of us need to move throughout the day, and boys need to move more often.  That control, had set up conditions for learning, is a counter-intuitive decision to turn many students away from the learning.


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