Wondering Why

This year, I tried something different than usual. I always like to get input from parents about their children, but I often ask for this input after the school year begins. For a change, I decided to email parents a link to the Google form below to receive input prior to the start of school.

I’m thrilled with the number of people that have already responded, and I hope to get more responses before September. Just looking at the answers, it’s clear that the parents and the students sat down together to complete this form, and I love the conversations that its sparked.

While the majority of answers were ones that I expected — as I taught many of these students before, some for as many as three years already — there was one answer that surprised me. For my question that said, “How does your child learn best?,” almost everyone replied, “Full class lecture and follow-up activity.”

At every inservice that I attended last year, every team meeting, and every staff meeting, the focus was always on the importance of “small group instruction” and “inquiry.” Our new Social Studies document actually emphasizes the importance of inquiry. Numerous parents and students though do not see this as the most effective method for learning. Why is this the case? Should this be something that we look at changing? How?

I would guess that for many students this is a new way of learning. I know that last year, most of my class was initially unaccustomed to directing their own learning. They felt more comfortable opening up a textbook, copying a note from the board, and seeing a checkmark with the one right answer. It took some students a while to see the benefits of inquiry, collaboration, and small group instruction, but at the end of the year, when they were asked to reflect on their learning, I received written pieces like this one:


I think that this speaks to the importance of exploring these other ways of learning, even if they are not initially the favoured ones by students. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this as I plan ahead for September!