Community of Inquiry in the Classroom

Posted: November 21, 2012 in Education, Pedagogy
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I have started the process of sorting things in my office in preparation to pack up at the end of the year. As I have been doing this I keep discovering small gems of stimulus documents that have helped to shape and form my practices. One of these is a simple diagram I was presented with in 2007 during a professional development workshop.

This diagram (source: Spitter and Sharp, Teaching for Better Thinking: the Classroom of Community Inquiry) represents the changing nature of classroom dynamics through the development and implementation of a Community of Inquiry. For me this made a lot of sense and in many ways represented aspects of the pedagogical toolkit I use. Being a teacher of students predominantly from the ages of 14 up I actively encourage full class immersion in and participation with theory, knowledge and skills being covered. I have found that I often lead students to the outcomes I desire through prompting their thought with aspects of interest. To document how this mostly occurs in my classes I will refer to a cyclic adaptation I have created from Philip Cam in his book, 20 Thinking Tools (2007). I approach this as cyclic as I have found that as the community aspect of the inquiry occurs, the questions raised by the members of the community prompt the restarting of the process from various points.

Further to the community of inquiry I have also successfully used similar scaffolding for group work. There is much potential for where educators can utilise this process.

The Basic Pattern of Inquiry – Source: Philip cam, 20 Thinking Tools, 2007, p.12


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