Reflection on Visit to George Jay Elementary School

The title of this blog post may be a bit misleading; a more accurate title would be “Reflection on the Presentation on Inquiry Mindset by Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt“.

Je me demande? Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt classroom
“I wonder?”- a bulletin board beside Ms Bathurst-Hunt’s students’ “Wonder Wall”

Let me explain:

Yesterday my classmates and I had the privilege of visiting George Jay Elementary School after class hours and hearing kindergarten teacher and co-author of the book “Inquiry Mindset” Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt speak about inquiry-based teaching. She opened our minds to how we as pre-service teachers can practically teach using the inquiry method, and even generously gave us access to many great resources to further explore how to incorporate inquiry into lessons.

I have two big take-aways from this visit:

1. Provocations are experiences or opportunities a teacher may provide for students to engage with the lesson material and form their inquiries through questions.

I had never heard of a “provocation” before, especially within the framework of inquiry-based learning, and immediately could see myself incorporating these into my future lessons. I’ve already begun brainstorming multiple provocations outdoors for my students (i.e. a trip to a local community garden or the school garden, visiting Goldstream Park in Victoria, etc).

2. Creating spaces within the classroom to post students’ wonders on each topic that will guide their inquiry

In Ms Bathurst-Hunt’s classroom, this looks like a wall with pictures of her students with thought bubbles above their heads with their questions in it. The questions change during each unit of study.

I love the way Ms Bathurst-Hunt presented teaching inquiry-based learning! I could definitely see myself structuring a unit by starting with a provocation (and taking the students outdoors for it if possible), then asking students to come up with three questions (or less dependent on the age of student) of things that they would like to know about the subject we will be studying, and then as a teacher forming my lessons around answering these students’ questions. I am getting excited seeing about how dignifying inquiry-based learning and teaching is to students and how it lets them exercise their autonomy to make decisions and choose for themselves!

I’m really looking forward to putting these ideas to work even in my first practicum!

~Bethany

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