Attack! 68 Kath Murdoch and inquiry learning: patches of clear water but mainly murky

Welcome to ATTACK! 

ATTACK! is a two-page occasional publication giving attention to the curriculum – the holistic curriculum.Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 1.48.15 PM

ATTACK! is for you, also to introduce to your colleagues. Each issue will be restricted to two pages. A cover graphic for a file or folder to store ATTACK! issues is available.

Most of ATTACK! will be concerned with the holistic curriculum which, if acted on, is a fundamental way to undermine the present undemocratic education system. Don’t be discouraged if opportunities to teach holistically are limited, do your best, be a guardian, and act as a witness to this culturally significant and inspiring way of teaching and learning.

To get in touch for comment, questions, and the ATTACK! issues to be sent to you personally:  ksmythe@wave.co.nz

Attack! 68 Kath Murdoch and inquiry learning: patches of clear water but mainly murky

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One Response to Attack! 68 Kath Murdoch and inquiry learning: patches of clear water but mainly murky

  1. Kelvin says:

    Weary writes: I was raising my own children when inquiry learning arrived so my knowledge of it is from observing classes and pd at staff meetings.

    There are a few things I don’t understand.

    The main one is the one word theme for the year, for e.g. ‘connections’ as was the case at a school I was with. Teachers/students brainstormed ways this could connect to curriculums for the WHOLE year. Contrived connections to a random word. I could not understand why. No balance of curriculum was required, no two or three year cycles to allow for a spread of topics/strands in multi-level classes.

    The next year there was no record of who had taught what at each level so it could actually have been unwittingly done again – as it could be contrived to suit new one word theme. I asked the principal about it and was advised this was a common problem for schools setting up their own ‘placed-based curriculums’ Really? What happened to the national curriculum? A cutesy idea instead of real learning.

    Placed-based? Now we were narrowing down everything to what is right outside but not in a way that utilises the local community /environment (as has always been done) but in a way that actually prevents you going beyond the local environment.

    The other thing I don’t really believe is the notion that kids don’t need knowledge/facts as it’s all a click away. Children don’t know what they don’t know. They may find the fact they want but to develop the thinking behind say ‘why do people think, feel and act the way they do’ has gone.

    The depth of teaching of a topic is disappearing. Every topic can feel/look/ to them like any other topic. I truly believe that for many children inquiry learning is killing their inquiring minds. They don’t gain knowledge about a topic so they aren’t grabbed by an idea to find out more. They seem to miss the valuable themes that allow them to establish relationships between units of learning.

    Topics that are harder to do/organise/resource are avoided as a computer-based one is ‘easier’ and fits the inquiry model – so is automatically justified.

    It is hard to motivate children who seem only interested in skateboards? They are allowed to do another depthless thing about skateboards (usually involving an iPad and filming themselves skating). I wonder why they couldn’t be taught something else that may well ignite an interest in something else they’d never met in their little worlds. We are dumbing down children.

    Thanks Kelvin – I agree with you on so many points. But it seems to me that when you /I start asking questions – especially ‘WHY?’ We are seen as trouble-makers, negative, and/or not open to ‘new pedagogy’. Sigh.

    I could go on but I won’t.

    Thank you for trying to shine a light on some of these issues.

    Many trained teachers don’t know enough yet, to really question why they are teaching in this way, and there is a fear of being labelled old-fashioned, especially for people like me over 40ish.

    I was going to post on Facebook, then your blog, but teachers hate what they perceive to be criticism.

    I really miss the teaching/integration/variety/teaching in depth of the late 1980s/90s, oh the way we discussed things, exchanged ideas – we were on fire.

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