Inquiry, Learning

Find Your Water

I read a great post by Kath Murdoch on Getting Into The Habit Of Inquiry. The post has so much to offer that you should read it in its entirety if you are or aspire to be an inquiry focused teacher. As I read it, I couldn’t help but connect Kath’s ideas with those of David Foster Wallace. I believe Kath has “found her water”. Living life through inquiry is something as natural to her as living in water is to a fish.

This is Water-David Foster Wallace from alexander correll on Vimeo.

What I particularly appreciate about Kath’s post is that she doesn’t just say, “Oh, I couldn’t teach any other way – lucky me!” and that’s it. She gives some great advice on how to develop your own skills and strategies to becoming a stronger teacher.

My favorite advice? Include your students in your learning process. Can you imagine yourself saying this to your class:

Hi everyone! I was doing some reading over the last few days about questions and asking good questions, and about giving you time to think about and answer questions. I have learned about this thing called “wait time” which means I have to stop talking and let you talk! I have written down some reminders to myself to help me learn and I would love your help too in reminding me to let you talk!

Maybe that is a bit cheesy? I don’t know. But I do know that we expect our kids to articulate their learning goals. Why not show them authentically what this looks like? Why not also show them that you are learning too? That in this classroom, we are all learners – and actually show them what that means.  What if we dared to let our kids know that we don’t know it all, that we are always learning and changing our perspective on what good teaching and learning looks and sounds like? What if we acknowledge when we slip back into old ways and share our struggles with learning?

What if we were all learners?

5 thoughts on “Find Your Water”

  1. Hi Sonya,

    This post really resonates with some things I’ve been thinking about lately. I was speaking with a colleague about the Readers and Writers Project ( that they teach in our school and one of the techniques they use is ‘Modelling’. This is where the teacher might solve a problem and think out loud whilst doing it. The students can then see the thought processes that the teacher went through and the connections that he/she/they were making.

    Involving students in your own learning helps in many ways, such as:

    (1) Models the learning process
    (2) Builds trust between the teacher and students

    I think some of the questions that you ask on the end also speak a lot to humility in the classroom. We are not the gatekeepers of knowledge and nor are we infallible.

    I also ascribe to the idea that we are all lifelong learners. To quote Stephen R Covey, “Life is a crescendo”.



    1. We are not the gatekeepers of knowledge and nor are we infallible. – I love this. Exactly what I was getting at, only articulated far more eloquently! I would love to see so much more of this in classrooms. I think the other option presents a charade and a division that is not necessary. As you say, where is the trust? Thanks for your comment. I can sense a sketch note or a graphic coming out of your quote!

  2. Hi Sonya,

    That video of the David Foster Wallace address is something I’ve used in my class for the past four years–I come back to it again and again. Your point about being mentors of learning is important. I was really happy to see one of our teachers here use her portfolio as a space to reflect on a recent student presentation made to staff.

    I’ve been impressed with what is happening in Grade 5 at ISHMC in Vietnam, they’ve moved to a massively student-directed model. Sam Sherratt
    @sherrattsam has done a great job of getting that up and running.

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