INQUIRY BASED-LEARNING

We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.

Lloyd Alexander

Inquiry-based learning is a dynamic process that capitalizes on students’ natural curiosity about the world they live in. Their questions and wonderings are at the centre of the learning experience as they engage in activities that help them investigate, solve problems and draw conclusions about a particular inquiry.

When we use differentiated instruction to meet the needs, interests and learning styles of our students it is important to have a variety of teaching strategies. Inquiry-based learning is one approach that can provide a context for differentiated instruction.

HOW DOES INQUIRY SUPPORT DIFFERENTIATION?

Readiness

Inquiry allows us to provide open-ended experiences and investigations that enable students to enter at their own readiness levels. Reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and presenting, are enhanced through inquiry learning. Teachers guide the learning and provide support as needed.


Interest

Inquiry-based learning is centred around students’ interests and questions. Engagement is high and students are motivated to explore, problem-solve, and use critical thinking as they work through the inquiry process.


Respectful tasks

With inquiry all students are engaged in interesting, authentic learning experiences where they can build on prior knowledge and understandings.


Assessment for learning

Teachers have many opportunities to gather evidence of student understandings, knowledge and needs when students are working on an inquiry. Through observation and conversation teachers ask open-ended questions to clarify and extend thinking.

You can find out more about Inquiry-Based Learning in the Talk section of Literacy Today.

Additional Resources

The Galileo Educational Network describes and defines inquiry-based learning.

Getting Started with Student Inquiry offers information to help teachers implement inquiry-based learning.


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