Inquiry based learning. I have heard that phrase many times throughout the last few years in education. In Saskatchewan’s revamped/revised curriculum, inquiry based learning has played a large role in changing the pedagogical approach of teaching. As part of inquiry learning, students are encouraged to question, explore and examine the curriculum. Instead of drilling students with facts and information, they are given opportunities to inquire and problem solve.
As I was going through my physical education curriculum tonight, I came across a section titled, ” Creating Questions for Inquiry in Physical Education”. The first thing that came to my mind was, how would you do that? For some reason, I didn’t see how physical education and inquiry based learning fit together. As I continued to read the text, I saw the following, ” In physical education, effective questions are the key to fostering students’ critical thinking and problem solving”. Below that were some key inquiry questions that could be used in a physical education class. After reading that section, I started to wonder why I didn’t view phys ed as a subject with inquiry based learning. I believe that inquiry learning is crucial in every subject, but why did it sound so strange in terms of physical education? After some careful consideration, I realized that my hesitation stemmed from my own education in phys ed. Like many others, my physical education experience was limited. I don’t ever recall having a teacher use inquiry learning, or problem solving, or even teach the three goals of education ( active living, skilful movement and relationships).
When reflecting on my university phys ed class, I realized that my professor Brian had used a type of inquiry learning with us. While giving instructions on an activity, Brian presented enough information for our class to understand, but the instructions were somewhat ambiguous. It was up to us students to become problem solvers and make decisions on how we interpreted this information. Each student reacted differently depending on their understanding of the instruction, and that was O.K. Brian didn’t need to tell us what to do because we were fully capable of making those inquires, and solving problems ourselves.
I believe that the combination of reading and participating in inquiry learning were very important for me. Physical education can and should include meaningful inquiry questions. Students are fully capable of exploring and questioning their surroundings. It is crucial that as educators we understand inquiry learning in each and every subject. I look forward to learning how to effectively incorporate inquiry based learning in my own phys ed classes.