Inquiry

Inquiry

Inquiry learning provides students with opportunities to build knowledge, abilities, and inquiring habits of mind that lead to deeper understanding of their world and human experience. The inquiry process focuses on the development of compelling questions – broad in scope and rich in possibilities, formulated by teachers and students, to motivate and guide inquiries into topics, problems, and issues related to curriculum content and outcomes.

Inquiry is more than a simple instructional strategy. It is a philosophical approach to teaching and learning, grounded in constructivist research and methods, which engages students in investigations that lead to disciplinary and trans-disciplinary understanding along a continuum of inquiry-based teaching and learning strategies ranging from:

← Teacher Directed − Collaborative − Student Directed ⟶
← Large Group − Small Group − Individual ⟶  
← Intra-disciplinary − Inter-disciplinary ⟶
← Mini Inquiry – Curricular Inquiry – Open Inquiry (PBL/PBL/DBL) ⟶

Inquiry builds on students’ inherent sense of curiosity and wonder, drawing on their diverse backgrounds, interests, and experiences. The process provides opportunities for students to become active participants in a collaborative search for meaning and understanding. Students who are engaged in inquiry:

  • construct deep knowledge and deep understanding rather than passively receiving information
  • are directly involved and engaged in the discovery of new knowledge
  • encounter alternative perspectives and differing ideas that transform prior knowledge and experience into deep understandings
  • transfer new knowledge and skills to new circumstances
  • take ownership and responsibility for their ongoing learning and mastery of curriculum content and skills.

Inquiry learning is not a step-by-step process but rather a cyclical process – flexible and recursive, with parts of the process being revisited and rethought as a result of students’ discoveries, insights, and co-construction of new knowledge.  The following graphic shows various phases of this cyclical inquiry process.

  

(Saskatchewan Ministry of Education)

For additional information please contact Juanita Redekopp-McKeown - Supervisor of Instruction (juanita.redekopp@rbe.sk.ca or 306.523.3136).