What started out as a weekend workshop presented by Natural Curiosity and learning for a sustainable future turned out to be a much needed guiding light. Through all of the investigating, reading and observations Christine Dalman and I have done , information overload was starting to set in. This two day workshop had no set in stone agenda and was guided by three amazing facilitators who ran the two day event based on the questions and needs of the group. The first day was spent brainstorming individual and collectively on what we though inquiry was, ways to implement it and the challenges Educators face with all aspects of inquiry. We also participated in a Knowledge building circle to enhance our brainstorming sessions. Below are some pictures of the questions and answers we developed as a group of 40 people through mind maps and further elaborations on chart paper.
This knowledge building circle took many different paths but always ended back at two key concepts. How do we best support learners to flourish and reach their potential? What supports are in place for Educators when implementing inquiry methods? One of my favourite parts of this KBC apart from the variety of ideas and view points was the etiquette of participating in a KBC. Instead of raising your hand to add to the conversation you put your hand into the circle. You only indicated that you had something to add to the conversation once the last person had finished speaking. Once the previous speaker called on the next participant the conversation would always continue with ‘ Building on your comments’ or ‘I connected to what you were saying…’ These techniques were incredibly helpful in keeping participants on track, respectful to other people’s thoughts and actually listening to what other people had to say. While this method worked well with adults, could it be done with young students?
While I have yet to try a Knowledge building circle with my grade one class it is definitely on my list. Until then have a look at this video to see a KBC in action!