Inquiry Habitat “Fly on the Wall” Self-Reflection

This weekend I came across an amazing blog post by the Inquiry goddess herself – Kath Murdoch – about habitats in which inquiry can thrive. She discusses the different things she looks for when visiting inquiry classrooms; “things that signal inquiry” and what she calls, “warning bells”.

We have taken her list of inquiry signals and warning bells and made a self-reflection template. We asked teachers to imagine they were a fly on the wall in their own classroom on any given, average teaching day. What signals of inquiry would you see? What warning bells would be there?

As always, we told our teachers that the expectation is never perfection, but always growth. Our intention is to have teachers – as professionals – honestly assess their habitat of inquiry without any self-judgment. This tool is meant to help each educator self-asses where they are on their own inquiry journey. This self-reflection was personal and private and there was no expectation to discuss the results with anyone – but many teachers felt comfortable to share with each other anyway.

Here is a copy of our Inquiry Self-Assessment:

Inquiry Self-Assessment

When I started this year as PYP Coordinator I had the misconception that I was leaving behind teaching. Throughout the year I have discovered that learners are learners… whether they are big or small… and all learners benefit from inquiry habitats. So I made a copy of this self-reflection for myself, physically crossed out every instance of the word ‘student’ and wrote over top ‘learner’. Then I got out my highlighter and reflected on my own signals or inquiry and warning bells when working with teachers.

Doing this self-reflection disrupted my old understanding of my position and has inspired me to make some drastic changes to the way I facilitate collaborative meetings and work with teacher-learners. I am taking some time to organize these thoughts, but I plan to share them here soon!

What are your signals of inquiry? What are your warning bells? How do you plan to work towards a habitat in which more inquiry can thrive?


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