Why promote inquiry from an early age?

In the October Newsletter, Mr. Gustavo Páez, Principal of International Program at Western Australian International School System (WASS), shared about the process of exploring, learning and adapting new knowledge. Thereby, he encourages WASSers to be more active in their journey of seeking knowledge.

Inquiry goes beyond conducting research or consulting on a topic, but rather exploring and expanding the need to understand and connect ideas that appear latent in everyday cognitive interaction.

We see how the transition from the use of encyclopedias to Internet search engines has changed the dynamics of information content, and above all, the validation and veracity of what is gathered.

The ability to discern and discriminate between valid and relevant information is a responsibility that educators now assume and thus, avoid the conformism of satisfying curiosity by the superficial information we find.

Having the habit of questioning information should not be interpreted as a negative action, but as a responsibility with knowledge, assuming a conviction about what has been learned and shared.

Questioning the world around us and the reasons for things is the beginning of acquiring the ability of inquiry.

I would like to share the publication of Jal Mehta, professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education on Unlearning Is Critical for Deep Learning:

One of the things that we don’t talk about enough is the way in which existing commitments can get in the way of new ones. Nowhere is that more the case than with “deeper learning.”

Learning is fundamentally an act of vulnerability. It is an acknowledgement that what one knows is not sufficient, and that new information and new thinking about that information is needed.

In a university context, this is almost a given. If a student finishes a course and says “I thought I knew about this when I started, but now I realize how much I don’t know,” a wise teacher would consider that success. Significant learning requires challenging what one thought one previously knew, which is likely to be unnerving and even destabilizing in the short run. Eventually, one’s thinking re-crystallizes, developing a new equilibrium that is hopefully richer than the one left behind. And that becomes the new normal, until the next destabilizing event.

Mr. Gustavo Páez
Principal of WA International Programs

Western Australian International School System

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