How do we cap our own curiosity? Usually, we search it, find and answer and boom! Case closed. We’ve grown up in a society where we crave new information and try to be as knowledgeable as we can. But, have you ever stopped to think about what it might be like to implement something similar into our classrooms? There might be some teachers who aren’t particularly keen on the idea because of the fact that it calls out on the importance on the role of our institution. I personally think that kids of this generation are lucky to have access to information from sources other than school – as long as this information is passed through a teacher for clarification and explanation. We need to let students have their own agency over the information they want to learn and comprehend.
Inquiry Based Learning is a new way to get students thinking for themselves. It starts naturally by the teacher and sometimes even the students asking a simple question, problem, or an instance. This is different than the typical way that a teacher simply gives out facts or spoon-feeds knowledge. The great factor about Inquiry-based learning is that it encompasses problem-based learning. Many teachers prefer to have teacher-based Inquiry Learning where the students would check in often with their teacher about the progression they’ve made, as well as have the teacher introduce and show different ways of finding the information that they are looking for. Inquiry Based Learning is moving ahead so quickly, that there are now teachers who conduct their own Inquiry Based Learning of topics and subjects that they want to explore before bringing it into the classroom.
For me personally, the most beneficial component of Inquiry Based Learning is that it combines the curiosity of students but also incorporates an approach to critical thinking. Critical thinking is a life skill that we already try to engrave in our students so why don’t we continue to remind them to keep questioning and ask them to seek answers? Inquiry based learning acts as another avenue to successfully gather more skills and knowledge. It gives students and even teachers a chance to better understand the world that we work, live, learn and function in.
So how can you go about adding Inquiry Based Learning in your classroom? It’s simple! There are so many ways to do it, some are nice and short, and others require a little more work (all of which will pay off in the end for yourself and your students). Here is how I would use IBD in my classroom:
1) Be Flexible:
Let students explore in a way that is comfortable for them and let them present that information to you in whatever way they choose. When you give a specific way to look for information and ask them to present it in a particular way, you might be cutting off students who aren’t skilled at that option. While you want to build that skill for the student, you also want to gives them different options so that they are more inclined to seek new skills.
2) Flip the Classroom:
At the end of the day, post a video or tell the students the content that you will be discussing in the classroom. Have students read and gather their own information so that you can spend the following class sharing information and having hands on discoveries and activities.
3) Don’t Spoon-Feed, show them how to Feed themselves:
Our job is to educate and that includes giving students answers but try not to give them the answers to quickly. I know that there are times when I just give them the fish, instead of teaching them HOW to fish for themselves. We don’t want robots in our society, we want individuals who understand and demonstrate a process. As teachers, we need to be prepared for the different directions a simple conversation can go.
These are just some way in which you can use Inquiry Based Learning in your classroom. Initially, it might take some times getting use to implementing something like this, and there will times when your students don’t understand information from what they learn. As you get familiar with the process, you’ll be able to help your students with their learning as well.
The best thing about Inquiry Based Learning is that both teacher and students are learning together.