In an inquiry-based learning environment, it is important to learn to ask questions that matter and will give way to new inquiries, and which will provoke thoughts that we have not thought before.
Upon studying the units of migration, educational environments beyond the school, and the social effect of media on society, students were presented with the challenge of putting their inquiry skills to the test; while also showcasing their desire to be informed, to be reflective and to enrich their points of view, staying true to their principles. This we needed a guest speaker that could reach out to students with his personal story; who could speak about the circumstances students frequently read or hear about; and who could also inspired students to design new problems, new questions and new ways to communicate their ideas.
Considering the fact that most of our grade 10 students are involved in our Model United Nations club, and the fact that many of them have demonstrated a strong character in our Community and Service program, we presented them with the opportunity to speak to someone who has been enthusiastically serving as an activist for the Palestinian cause; someone who was part of the massive emergence of media (specifically twitter and facebook) at the beginning of the Arab spring; and someone whose life story has been shaped, to a big degree, by migration and the media around his life.
A brief presentation triggered a very dynamic series of questions in which students appreciated the chance they had to speak to someone who has enthusiastically taken the initiative to motivate his friends to stay informed. Touched by the “stateless ” or “nonexistent nationality” label some people (of Palestinian origin) carry in the Middle East, students were quick to ask about the possibility of change; about the different sides of the story; and about the role media has played in the speaker’s life. Moreover, with every new piece of information that emerged, students’ motivation to ask increased, and, very gratifyingly, they turned the Skype conference into a very intimate exchange of ideas.
As the session was brought to and end, we reflected on the following questions, hence concluding this session.
How important is it to stay informed? To what extent are we responsible for helping those around us informed? How can we distinguish which information on the web is reliable? To what extent can media help us build an array of meaningful information? How is the power of “words” somewhat similar to the power of a hashtag?
Nonetheless, the point that truly stroke the audience was a statement the guest speaker mentioned: make sure that when you put your ideas on the web, you accompany them with the appropriate design, as they are your words, your thoughts, your identity, and your product says a lot of who you are.