What is Inquiry Based Learning?:
An ancient Chinese Proverb sums it up best by stating, “tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand”. Students in this type of model gather information on subjects which they need or want to know about. Questions do not have a simple yes/no or right/wrong answer, but instead students are challenged to investigate the topic. This investigation can lead to social change, innovative thinking, and the increased desire to find things out. (For example: The root of the English word “evaluate” comes from the Latin word for value, meaning worth. How does this relate to the mathematical meaning of evaluate?)
Within this type of learning model, different people have different roles:
What is my child’s role in the classroom?
* actively involved in planning, developing, and evaluating activities
* find resources, interpret information, report findings
* contribute to inquiry process by sharing individual experiences and knowledge
* make every effort to complete schoolwork with their highest level of integrity
What is the Parent’s Role?
* develop an awareness of how inquiry based learning is compatible with the needs of modern society
* be strong advocates for quality education
* support the process of inquiry by asking questions at home
* promote a positive attitude of the learning process
* maintain open communication with child and teacher
* provide support, but do not do the homework for the student
What is the Teacher’s Role in the classroom?
* plan and guide interdisciplinary projects that can be used to reinforce a variety of skills and concepts within the same project
* plan and guide inquiry based activities designed to accommodate a variety of individual student needs and interests
* facilitate the inquiry process
* reinforce skills while guiding students through the inquiry process
* Plan field trips and other hands on activities where students can explore and make their own
What is the Administration’s Role?
* allow teacher and student schedules to be flexible
* provide educational materials that support Inquiry Based Learning.
* provide for the integration of multiple technologies
* provide staff development and support for ongoing understanding
* create a culture where exploration and collaboration is valued
* facilitate the communication process between school and home
The Library of Congress offers a free, one-hour online professional development module on "Supporting Inquiry with Primary Sources." It's a great introduction to inquiry learning and includes multiple examples and interviews with teachers.