An Inquiry Based Learning Approach
By Andrew Loh
"Inquiry based approaches to science education focus on student
constructed learning as opposed to teacher-transmitted information"
- Wilfred A. Franklin
Inquiry based learning is an old concept of learning. This form of learning
is an educational concept that relies more on a learner's side of
involvement than a teacher's intervention. This approach is quite
different from a traditional mode of learning. In a conventional
classroom, teachers use a system, where they come to the class with a set
of pre-prepared course curriculum and deliver them to the students on a
sequential mode. In fact, they are the active facilitators of teaching
by providing a source of skills and knowledge to the students. The
entire teaching process is teacher-driven, when the teacher manages and
administers the entire proceedings.
On the other hand, an inquiry based learning system drives the students
to learn in a productive manner. Here, the teacher or instructors act as
mentors or guides to lead students to learn their lessons. The teacher-in-charge will allow the students to come with their own queries and
questions that eventually help them learn with a motivated mind.
Children are curious and motivated to know and learn anything that
interests them. Their intense desire to learn new things, will lead them
to design, create, master and experiment with different things and
issues. In an inquiry based learning system, there are two important
entities. A child will have his or her interests and motivation to drive
the learning process. On the contrary, both parents and teachers just
act as facilitators or mentors in the entire learning process. An
inquiry based learning process is evolving and organic, apart from its
dynamic and interactive nature. It means that a child, who uses this
approach is very active when he or she gets an active interest in
learning. An inquiry based learning process involves the following
New discovery - Something interests and intrigues children that
eventually force them to know more about it. This intriguing thing can
fuel a child's imagination and drive to learn more. This very precious
response system works very well for any child. An urge or drive to
explore new domains or things will help a child to try his or her
maximum best to master the basics of lessons.
A sense of action to drive the learning process - Although children are
busy learning their lessons, teachers keep observing and mentoring their
activities. They will also provide many opportunities to children to ask
their questions and seek clarifications. During the process of learning,
children start collecting information and details regarding the lessons.
In this way, children will interact with other children to learn on a
mutual basis. Team learning is an excellent way to learn new things and
Results or outcome - At the end of the learning process, the children
will assess their performance with the active help from their teachers.
This step is a reflection period, when children compare their performance
and later assess what can be done to improve their performance. The
teacher, who is in charge, will help them in the process. Once children
feel confident, they can probe and test new areas, domains and
territories. The outcome is academic excellence, cooperation and teamwork.
For example, let us assume that a few children will ask their teacher
how differently musicians perform on a stage, instead of performing on the
floor. The teacher in charge may motivate the children to find the
answers for their questions. Mutual discussions among children and a
round of introspection will help everyone to design an imaginary stage,
where different musicians play different musical instruments. In another
extension, children can even take the role of individual musicians and
start playing their own imaginary instruments.
With an inquiry-based learning, your children can easily learn many things and
master many skills like:
Self-belief - Children start believing
in themselves in their skills and abilities. They also perceive
themselves as skilled, knowledgeable, competent, capable and highly valued.
Motivation - Children develop higher levels of motivation
to learn on their own. In fact, this acts as a fuel to burn goal-driven objectives.
Mind to investigate and probe - Children, who use an
inquiry based learning process, will develop self-confidence that drives
them forward to achieve many great things in life.
Cooperation - Children who use an inquiry based learning approach help others and get
help from them too.
Self-expression - Children who use this
approach will also master the art of self-expression. They will develop
the strength and capability to provide answers to any type of questions.
Continue to read
Inquiry Based Learning - Parental Techniques here!