Kath Murdoch’s | Inquiry Workshop

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SVP sent 3 teachers to attend Kath Murdoch’s Inquiry Workshop at SekolahPelitaHarapan, Lippo Village, Tangerang on 20th February 2010. Ms. Winarni, Mr. Adam Huntly and Ms. IstiHandayani, were all happy to be there bright and early on a Saturday morning.
Kath Murdoch is a well-known Australian educator and author of the book “Classroom Connections”. Inquiry-based learning is applied in all PYP schools and the inquiry model Kath personally created is followed by many schools in several countries.
At the start of the workshop, Kath Murdoch heavily stressed the importance of students taking full responsibility for their own learning. Students must understand that learning is something they do for themselves – not something that is ‘done’ to them. One way to help students realize that they are  responsible for their own learning is to set goals. Goals can be set for one lesson, for one day, a term or even over a year (take the SVP three way conference for example). Once students take ownership of their own learning they learn freely and easily. Kath asked “Think about yourself?.. Do you learn best because people tell you to? Or because you have a burning question that needs answering?..”   This leads to another important factor in inquiry based learning – ‘questions’.  Kath suggested that questions lead to discoveries and discoveries shape lives. If students are asking questions, they are engaged. While traveling the world she has collected a range of questions from children. “Why don’t our eyes fall out when we bend over?” “How deep is the ocean?” “Why do we bleed?” “Why are doctors so scared of apples?”  are just a few of the questions she shared with us that lead to amazing discoveries in education and about life. Once students have questions they will be curious and searching for meaning, this is when the learning begins.
The rest of the workshop saw Kath taking us through the inquiry cycle step by step. ‘Tuning in’ is the first step of the cycle – this gets students engaged and curious about the topic. The next step is ‘finding out’ – this is when students start gathering information about the topic. Then followed by ‘sorting out’ – which is when students begin to use this information in a certain way, this may include assignments, homework and assessment tasks.
Overall, the inquiry cycle is a modern and highly effective way of teaching; it’s a great way to integrate the curriculum; it caters to a range of different learning styles; it fosters connection and creativity as opposed to episodic learning (listing of dates, facts and places) and finally taps into students’ curiosity.

(Adam Huntly, PYP LA Coordinator)    
Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 May 2010 11:07