Inquiry Book Study: The Final Week!

Due to our school Spring Break – this final blog post for our Inquiry Book Study is a little tardy…

This book study has been an enjoyable experience for us – and we plan on running another in the Fall. Thanks so much to all our previous bloggers!
Chapter Seven: Learn the Game of Learning
Bio: Keith Hadden is currently principal of Prairie Waters Elementary School in Rocky View Schools. Prairie Waters is a K-5 dual-track (English-French) school of 530 students with approximately 35% English Language Learners. The school is currently working towards application for the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. Follow Keith on Twitter here. Read more of his blogs here.
Like many others in their late teens, I spent the

first couple of years of my undergrad degree sitting in large lecture halls taking notes, trying to keep up with readings, and cramming for exams (which usually meant memorizing what I could regurgitate). Finally, I started to learn the game of learning, making more of an effort to connect with professors, attend tutorials, and, having shed the shroud of multiple-guess tests that pervade first and second-year classes, reflecting more critically on lectures and readings. Still, it was undergrad…
I recall once proudly going to a University professor and asking him some questions of clarification, confident that I could make sense of coursework. I still remember him asking me, “Weren’t you in class?” I was. Now, many years later, I understand what I didn’t then; I’m not lectured to easily. I now know how I learn and how I do not. I do not enjoy being read to either.
Even adult learning situations often place one in a role of being read to, as good literature is shared by others. I’ve sat next to others who have felt such emotional attachment to what is being read that they have cried in response, while I sat wondering what it was that was being read. I’ve now learned the game of learning.
What implications does learning the game of learning have in today’s classrooms? Questions that need to be asked include: How do we help our students understand how they learn? How do we meet their learning styles? How do we help them develop the type of skills Perkins talks about: memory strategies, problem-solving strategies, deep reading, time management, choice points, self-assessment, collaborations, etc? Some students will master these anyway, but not all will. Those that automatically take the driver’s seat will get it; those in the passenger seat will need to be encouraged to move over. Things just matter less in the passenger seat. And learning is enhanced when it matters.
Perkins’ argument that it is important to learn the game of learning should resonate with every teacher. I equate it with meta-cognition and transference of learning. Connections to background knowledge, to how we learn, and to other games makes the learning whole. I think this is where inquiry comes in. It’s the difference between planning for learning and micromanaging learning. Giving students as much ownership over their learning, and letting them pose questions and study problems relevant to them will allow them to make the type of meaningful connections necessary to maneuver their way on new routes.
It took me a while, but the undergrad learnings I made about how I learned served me well as I became a lifelong learner. I finally learned how to drive.
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