It feels like I have been part of the education system in Queensland for my entire life. Like so many before me, I went straight from high school into my Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) and began my teaching career the very next year after graduation. I started teaching in Kindergarten, then junior secondary, followed by upper primary then (finally) back down to the early years. Since embarking on my teaching journey, I have always worked in rural Queensland and as cliché as it sounds, fell in love with a farmer. 12 years and 3 beautiful children later, I still live and teach in rural QLD.
As rural schools are so small, multi age classrooms have been my only teaching experience and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The diversity and richness that comes with a range of ages is a challenge worth meeting! I have been a Teaching Principal in a small P – 6 school for the last three years and am currently working in an advisory role in regional office. Learning to teach across prep to year six in one classroom was a sharp bend in the road and made me critically reflect on effective multi-age pedagogy.
With a passion for learning and providing the best educational experiences and support for bush children, I started undertaking my Masters in Inclusive Education last year. I am passionate about rural education and believe that all children irrespective of their location deserve to be educated by high quality teachers. To maintain high standards and professional knowledge, teachers need to be continually on a learning journey. To develop my own teaching practices, I have gone right outside my comfort zone and chosen Inquiry Learning as an elective this year. To say this subject has been a big learning curve for me is an understatement! With many tears and tantrums, I was able to make this inquiry blog a reality!
My current understanding of inquiry learning is that it is a student driven, questioning style of learning. It involves developing knowledge and understanding through research, fact finding and information gathering then using that information to find an answer or solution. I have engaged my students in some student led inquiry learning experiences however more often than not, I have used the teacher led model of inquiry in my classroom practices. I would like to build my knowledge of Inquiry Learning and the different teaching models so I can use it more effectively in my planning. How can I utilise Inquiry Learning to better support the students in my multi-age classroom? How can I support the teachers in my school to effectively use inquiry learning in the early years?
Through this blog, you will follow me on my inquiry journey into the following initial search questions.
1. How can inquiry learning be effectively implemented in a multi-age setting?
2. How can inquiry learning be implemented in early childhood?
3. How can teachers use an inquiry approach to teach the Australian Curriculum?
See below my mind map to start my searching journey.
Stay tuned while I navigate my way along this long and winding inquiry journey!