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UCDS Institute: Creating a Culture of Inquiry


By David Garrick, Graduate School Dean

What is inquiry-based learning?

How can you integrate inquiry in the classroom to spark curiosity and engage students in deeper learning? Students participating in UCDS Institute’s Designing a Culture of Inquiry are examining the definitions, theories, and impacts of inquiry as a construct for designing learning experiences.  This fall-quarter class for new teachers meets on Thursday evenings in the UCDS Institute Hub room from 4:30 to 6:30. The course offers both clock hours and credits in partnership with Seattle Pacific University.

The first three weeks of the course consisted of a mix of hands-on experiences and theoretical discussion.  Students brought these ideas into their consciousness and their teaching practices between class sessions. In the first week of the course students experienced and discussed the concept of inquiry as a lense for instructional design.  The second week shifted focus to school culture. Students discussed elements of culture and explored how different constituencies experience the same culture in different ways. This cultural examination was then applied to the concept of inquiry.  Week three focused on questions. Students generated questions and discussed different taxonomies for organizing and prioritizing them.

In the coming weeks, students will put theory to practice as they observe inquiry in action in UCDS classrooms and design lessons with inquiry at the center of the student experience.