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Keeping Engagement Simple

It begins with the science, history, technology, social science curriculum and always ends with students doing a whole lot of reading, writing and maths!

Making Inquiry the centre of teaching in schools and weaving this across curriculum has has been a cornerstone of my approach to enhancing student engagement in primary schools in New Zealand and it all begins with curriculum that seems destined to be lost again.

Research is clear, by embracing a variety of tactile and experiential learning opportunities, we ensure that every student has the chance to thrive, catering to their diverse learning styles and interests. So becoming backyard scientists, hands on engineers, problem solvers and digital creators means students engage with, enhance and deepen their learning.

Isn't this type of learning what brings us to school every day, teachers and students alike. Driven by the curiosity of the world around us? Yet this gets relegated to once or twice a week in the busy schedule of some classrooms.

Exploring history, science, and social studies provides an enriching avenue for students to develop their literacy and numeracy skills. Delving into historical texts cultivates critical reading and comprehension abilities. Analysing primary sources, deciphering complex narratives, and synthesizing information enhance students' literacy skills, fostering a deeper understanding of historical events and perspectives. Moreover, engaging with scientific experiments fosters scientific literacy, as students make observations, evaluate evidence, and communicate findings effectively. By honing their ability to interpret graphs, charts, and scientific texts, students not only deepen their understanding of scientific concepts but also strengthen their numeracy skills. Additionally, exploring social studies topics encourages students to analyse data, interpret statistics, and draw evidence-based conclusions, sharpening their numeracy skills while fostering a broader understanding of societal issues. Ultimately, inquiry-based learning in history, science, and social studies equips students with the critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills essential for success in an increasingly complex world.

Schools must get back to the basics, but these are the basics can be developed through a rich and varied curriculum. And this is the only way, through integration as any teacher will tell you - time is not on our side.

As students transition to high school, the literacy and numeracy skills honed through inquiry-based learning serve as a solid foundation for advanced coursework and academic success. Whether pursuing STEM fields or humanities, students equipped with strong literacy and numeracy skills are better positioned to excel in high school and pursue higher education or enter the workforce with confidence closing our workforce gaps.

Keep the breadth of the curriculum alive in schools, all 8 learning areas!


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