Soul of Inquiry

Submitted By:
Meghan Tally, Windward School, CA

The Power of Questioning: Opening Up the World of Student Inquiry by Starr Sackstein
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, December 28, 2015

An award-winning English teacher in New York, writing this book directly to other teachers, Starr Sackstein focuses on practical ways, across disciplines, to "bring questioning and curiosity back to formal learning." Drawing from Dweck's growth mindset and Bloom's taxonomy, among other well-known frameworks, Sackstein explains and substantiates her conviction that teachers should "engage students in a learning dialogue" and "allow them to drive the way learning happens." Questions for Sackstein are the soul of inquiry (and at the heart of all learning), and her own experiences as a student, teacher, and parent inspire her passion for them. As much practice as theory, Sackstein's short, accessible book emphasizes the power of metacognition in learning, offering techniques and strategies along the way for student-centric (as opposed to teacher-centric) learning environments. In a further testament to her commitment to authentic inquiry, Sackstein has "done away with" grades in her own teaching practice. Sackstein's book will be thought-provoking for those new to inquiry-based approaches and a good refresher for those familiar with fishbowl discussions, Socratic seminars, Google Classroom, and the like.

Teaching Practice