Because inquiry sometimes seems so hard to define, Steph Harvey and Smokey Daniels created the chart below to highlight the contrasts (2015) between it and a "coverage" approach. Notice that they do not label old-school teaching as “traditional.” That’s because progressive, student-centered, and inquiry-based learning is just as strong a strand in the American tradition (think John Dewey, Jerome Bruner, Francis Parker) as the skill-and-drill paradigm that has dominated the last three decades.
Obviously, these two paradigms are not new. They represent profoundly different views of childhood, and have been competing for centuries in Americans’ school culture. Today, after a long dominance of coverage instruction, inquiry is resurgent because it fits our newer conception of children, learning, and the national interest.
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Interested in learning more about student-directed inquiry? check out The Curious Classroom: 10 Structures for Teaching with Student-Directed Inquiry, the new title by Harvey "Smokey" Daniels, available now.
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Harvey “Smokey” Daniels has been a city and suburban classroom teacher and a college professor, and now works as a national consultant and author on literacy education. In language arts, Smokey is known for his pioneering work on student book clubs, as recounted in Minilessons for Literature Circles. His latest bestselling books on content-area literacy are Upstanders, Subjects Matter, Second Edition; Texts and Lessons for Teaching Literature; Texts and Lessons for Content-Area Reading; Comprehension & Collaboration; and Texts and Lessons for Content Area Writing. He is also coauthor of Best Practice, Fourth Edition and The Best Practice Video Companion as well as editor of Comprehension Going Forward.
Smokey works with elementary and secondary teachers throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, offering demonstration lessons, workshops, and consulting, with a special focus on creating, sustaining, and renewing student-centered inquiries and discussions of all kinds. Smokey shows colleagues how to simultaneously build students’ reading strategies, enhance their collaboration skills, and get them citizen-ready for an era of challenge and change.