Inquiry Learning

What is Inquiry Learning?

Inquiry learning involves students forming their own questions about a topic and having time to explore the answers.   Students are both problem posers and problem solvers within inquiry learning.   It is a collaborative process in which both students and teachers work together negotiating aspects of the curriculum.   Inquiry learning encourages learners to examine the complexity of their world and form concepts and generalisations instead of being told simple answers to more complex problems.   It is based on the belief that students are powerful learners who must be actively engaged in the process of investigating, processing, organising, synthesising, refining and extending their knowledge within a topic.

Each Inquiry is driven by a large concept that helps focus learning.  The process caters for varying learning styles and allows for creativity.

During the Inquiry Process students work through the following stages:

Switching On:  The purpose of the first stage is to engage students in a topic, gauge their interest and attitudes and to find out their current understanding and possible misconceptions.

Finding Out:  The purpose of the second stage involves students researching or finding out new information.

Sorting Out:  The third stage allows students to make connections between new ideas and draw conclusions as they sort out and organise the information gained during the previous stage.

Going Further:   The purpose of the fourth stage is to extend or broaden the unit if appropriate, by allowing students to investigate areas of personal interest.

Acting On:  The purpose of the final stage is to identify what the students have learnt and to relate their learning to real life situations.

Reflection:  Throughout the process students think about what they have learnt and how they learnt it and identify changes.  

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