Teach education

Reflections of an IB science teacher

3 Habits I’ve picked up now I teach Inquiry

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So I’m coming to the end of my second year teaching MYP science, and I’ve started noticing new automatic responses I’ve developed in the classroom. For example..

1. My conversations with students are now more about how they could find out the answer than the answer itself.

I now hold back from telling my students the answer before I know that they are legitimately stuck.

Usually the first response from me when a student asks a question is “What search terms have you used?” followed by “Let’s see which links you’ve followed”. Usually, these two questions were enough to determine that the student had just typed a question into Google and not got the answer immediately laid out in front of them, and they were frustrated. Most of my job these days is convincing students that they have the ability to discover information.

2. I’m grading the quality of sources as much as I’m grading the quality of work.

My students are constantly finding themselves writing an essay about a niche corner of the history of science that I previously new nothing about. As a result, the first crucial step in grading their work involves grading the quality of their sources.

Whilst I run through these sources for legitimacy, I often get to learn things I that never knew!

3. I’ll finish a necessary explanation with “If you need to find extra help, your best search terms will be [X], [Y] and [z]”

Sometimes a student, a group of students or even the class really do need a teacher to lay it all out in front of them before they can successfully research the subject further and deeper. And the expectation really is that they then research the topic that I’ve just ran through for them. We know enough about the science of learning to know that the more sources and the more media and the more approaches to a topic students are introduced to, the more likely they are to have successful retrieval of the information in the future.

I’m no longer the only expert in the room. In fact, if I can help it, I will remove myself as an expert in the subject knowledge altogether and try to only exist to model and assist inquiry.

These are probably three of many habits that I’ve developed since being introduced to the International Baccalaureate, but they’re three that really stand out for me during and around lessons.

I’d be really interested in hearing about habits other people have developed in their teaching practice on moving from one curriculum to another.

Thanks for reading!


Author: mrcopeland

Whilst I believe that there is a common core of knowledge that is necessary for academic conjecture to take place, I still think that there is plenty of room for progressivism in education. My pedagogical approach centres on guiding and motivating students to become independent academics and global citizens so that they have the tools they need to both succeed within, and shape for the better, an uncertain future. I believe that we are in a golden age of support in education, with a wealth of educational professionals willing to collaborate across the world and countless technologies for education being provided all the time we are in a position to achieve a new standard of education. By blending our learning structures and using tools for AFL to support and guide scaffoldings for inquiry, we are for the first time in a position to offer a classroom that is truly differentiated and flexible to every student’s needs. This flexibility gives space for students to express themselves and use creativity in their approaches, to develop important social and professional skill sets and to be guided by inspiration and inquiry. This subsequently allows students to take ownership of not just their education but their position in the world, allowing them to develop into true global citizens.

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