Non-Competitive Inquirers


During today’s class meeting we began a conversation about being an inquirer. Our first discussion centered around the simple question, “What is an inquirer?” or “What does an inquirer do?”  I was, as always, impressed by the quality of the answers I heard:

  • asks lots of questions
  • likes experiments
  • enjoys learning
  • wants to know more
  • is curious
  • always thinking

In invite you to talk about being an inquirer at home.  Do you notice your child being curious or asking lots of questions?  Let them know you think they are an incredible inquirer!

At our class meeting we also talked about an issue that I have noticed in class.  I often hear the children saying, “Hey! That was MY ideas” or “don’t copy me!”  I have also heard the kids complaining about not being first.  I told the Magical Minds I was concerned.  I felt we were acting rather competitive.  I pointed to our wall of “tools” and asked them if they saw competition or being first anywhere on that wall.  Nope. Our “tools” are the PYP Profile and Attitudes.  They guide us on our path to success.

While we were talking about this competitive feeling in our class, a couple of the children shared stories of how wanting to be first had caused fights and serious disagreements with family and friends.  We heard some good examples of how competition can get out of hand and cause big problems.

But how do we stop?  What can we say instead?

Instead of saying “I’m first,” someone recommended we look around and ask someone else if they would like to go ahead.  Nice thinking!  The hardest part about not going first can be the waiting.  In my culture (the USA) very few people are comfortable with waiting.  We are going to start focusing on the waiting times – the quiet times in between.  Is there something good in this moment right now – even if we aren’t doing anything?

When it comes to copying, we agreed that it is very important to ask for permission.  We agreed that there are certain times when copying is not a good idea.  For example you wouldn’t want to copy someone’s test.  This doesn’t show your learning, and you can  if the other person’s answers were wrong.

BUT – copying is very important in learning.  We all learn from copying others.  The Magical Minds learn from my modeling, as well as from copying each other.  Sometimes we don’t even mean to copy each other.  Sometimes we just have the same good idea.  We come up with some new language we can use that helps us accept and celebrate similar ideas.  My favorite was – Great minds think alike!

How do you help foster cooperation and collaboration with your children?  Is there language you use in your home/classroom that encourages children to work together?



2 responses to “Non-Competitive Inquirers

  1. Erin,
    I love how your posts are thorough and model the kind of writing we expect form our students. I hope that you will have enough energy to keep the blog going for years.
    One phrase that has worked with some students is: “It is better to be kind than right.”

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