Inquiry based learning is a multifaceted practice that involves engaging students in challenging questions and then enabling them to use investigation to find the answers. While engaged in the inquiry process the students will develop new insight, value, and
wisdom about their topic of study. In addition, through inquiry based learning they will be able to make connections between their topics and evidence of understanding.
Teachers who use inquiry based learning, and the associated instructional strategies that promote it, enable their students to enthusiastically unravel genuine real life problems real life curriculum based problems. It is these strong learning events that create 21st century learners.
When students engage in inquiry based learning activities, they increase:
• Problem solving skills
• Overall student achievement
It has been shown that the traditional ways of teaching hinder inquiry. The students tend to ask fewer questions and in some cases develop a learned helplessness to receiving information. Essentially, we give it to them, they memorize it and then regurgitate it back to us in the form of a test or performance task. Conversely, when a student partakes in an activity that is based on the inquiry model, they learn to take in information and convert it to valuable knowledge.
Inquiry based learning can be applied to all subjects. With ease, Social Studies and Science can be interconnected to literacy through the inquiry process. Teachers can organize their lessons in literacy to overlap with the content areas so that students have an opportunity to demonstrate their individual approach to processing information and reporting their findings.
Ultimately, inquiry based learning is fundamentally teaching students how to have a larger awareness of the world where they work, communicate, learn and live.