All schools are reporting that the profile of their child population is becoming more complex . There are multiple reasons for this – disadvantage , deprivation and disability , all give rise to vulnerabilities in childhood and adolescence .
What is common across these children is that their learning profile , the ways in which they engage as successful learners , is not typical to those learning pathways that we, as teachers, may have traditionally seen . Thus we need new tools in our teaching toolkit to extend our repertoire , and ensure every child is meaningfully engaged in learning.
However , these approach are not immediately obvious or available . These are children with a profile of learning needs not previously seen in their presentations or configurations before .
Now it has become even more apparent that whist teaching is an evidence based profession , that evidence is not there to support the classroom teacher or school leader , in the judgement they need to make about teaching such children .
Inquiry needs to become a dynamic in every day practice ; teachers need to be equipped with the skills to investigate , discover , find out , what are the most successful ways of engaging that chid as an effective learner .
The lens of inquiry can illuminate those crevices of learning which a pure evidence based approach does not throw light on .
The Inquiry dynamic needs to be embedded in everyday practice , as the classroom is the ecologically valid environment in which a teacher can make those crucial, enabling discoveries , for and with the child .
In this lecture I outline some of the thinking behind this approach, how school leaders can build a ‘ finding out culture ‘ in their school, and how teachers, in all classrooms, can use the inquiry dynamic to find solutions and ways forward through their skilled and creative teaching , and thus lessen the frustrations and inherent tensions that may otherwise emerge .
Further reading around this topic , can be found in ‘ Engaging Learners with Complex Needs “ ( Carpenter et al , 2015 , ) and subsequent articles on the website www.barrycarpentereducation.com.
Professor Carpenter’s recent lecture on “Nurturing a culture of inquiry at your school” can be found on : https://www.evidenceforlearning.net/barrycarpenter/