One of the most striking revelations I had about teaching new literacy skills was having my students develop their own essential questions. Armstrong (2009) stated that students should identify their own questions to explore, based on the academic standards that must be addressed. This statement helped me realize that essential questions can become much more powerful and beneficial for students when they create their own questions based on the required content area. The idea of students creating their own essential questions confirms my longtime belief in that students should have an active role in their learning. When students are more actively engaged, I believe it helps them become more inspired to learn. In addition, Armstrong (2009) confirmed that good essential questions lead to inquiry-based projects that help all students problem solve and develop new ways of thinking. Therefore, I will take the knowledge and experience I’ve gained from this course about student led inquiry-based learning and use it to help influence my students to become 21st century learners. I plan to also further my professional development by reading accredited journal articles through the use of online resources such as Google Scholar and EBSCO Host. These professional journal articles will provide me with useful ways to help students develop their new literacy skills. Furthermore, I will take the information gained from these journal articles and initiate professional dialogues with my colleagues about helping our students become 21st century learners.
The challenge for me will be to allow my students to come up with their own questions, as opposed to simply giving them the questions to explore. In doing so, I will mainly act as a facilitator by guiding my students into developing strong questions that will help them think in broader ways. I will also use technology to help assist students with developing appropriate essential questions and to assist them throughout their inquiry process. Thornburg (2004) affirmed that technology supports students’ learning during their inquiry process and it also provides images that allow students to stop and reflect on their inquiries. Throughout the school year, I will provide my students with multiple opportunities to use technology as a supporting tool throughout their inquiry learning experiences.
Thornburg, D. (2004). Inquiry: The art of helping students ask good questions. (Executive Briefing No. 402). Retrieved from http://www.tcpdpodcast.org/briefings/inquiry.pdf
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Supporting information literacy and online inquiry in the classroom: Essential questions in inquiry projects. Baltimore: Armstrong, S.