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Getting Curiosity Again: The Power of Inquiry-Based Learning

Hello internet! It has been a while. This school year has really been kicking my butt. I need to spark some excitement in the classroom again. Inquiry-based learning is my PASSION and I feel as though I have drifted from that a bit. If you have been here for a while then you know that I strongly believe that the traditional approach to education must be left at the door and we need to reshape it through innovative methods that foster critical thinking, problem-solving, and a lifelong love for learning! Over the last few weeks, I have compiled some points as to WHY? Why inquiry-based learning? The purpose of this blog post is to spark some excitement in me and hopefully inspire some of you to try implementing some inquiry skills in the classroom.

Why inquiry-based learning? Why is it my passion? Why do I practice this in the classroom?

To bring it back to the basics, inquiry-based learning is a student-centered approach to learning that places curiosity at the forefront, encouraging learners to ask questions, explore topics deeply, and construct their understanding. In this blog post, I hope to do a few things,

  1. Get inspired and reflect on my love for inquiry-based learning

  2. Dive deep into principles, benefits, and practical applications of inquiry-based learning.

  3. Understand that it is okay to make mistakes and lean into comfort as long as you are ready to jump back in!

Let's try to understand Inquiry-Based Learning a little bit more:

At its core, inquiry-based learning is an approach that encourages students to actively engage in the learning process by posing questions, investigating problems, and knowledge building. Inquiry-based learning empowers students to take control of their education! It is time to think...What are your interests? How can we learn from our interests? After years of practicing inquiry-based learning with the students I teach, I have come up with some key principles of this approach to learning.

Key Principles:

  • Curiosity is Key - The foundation of inquiry-based learning lies in fostering a sense of curiosity. By encouraging students to ask questions, educators stimulate a natural desire to explore, discover, and learn. Curiosity becomes the driving force that fuels the entire learning process. Things to think about:

    • What are some fun or interesting topics that I would like to share with the students I teach?

    • How can I present a topic as a provocation that will spark curiosity? What will this look like? A provocation station? A mingle and explore? etc.

    • What are some of the interests the students have? Do I know anything about this topic? How can I be curious with the students?

  • Eager and Engaged - Rather than being passive recipients of information, students actively participate in the learning journey. They conduct research, collaborate with peers, and engage in hands-on activities, promoting a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Connecting learning to a sense of self and identity will in turn boost engagement in the classroom. Check out my INSTAGRAM post on my IDENTITY INQUIRY- School License resources to get you started.

  • Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving - Inquiry-based learning emphasizes the development of critical thinking skills and skill-based learning in general. Students learn to analyze information, evaluate evidence, and solve problems independently. This approach not only prepares them for the creation of an actionable goal but also equips them with essential skills for the real world. If you want to learn more about skill-based learning check out my blog post titled "Inquiry Skills, Strategies & Tools!".

  • Student Agency - Authentic inquiry-based learning creates a learning environment where students are heard and valued, thus making student agency visible. Learners are given the freedom to choose topics of interest, formulate their own provocations, questions, and design investigations, conversations, experiments, and other learning opportunities. This agency not only enhances motivation but also nurtures a sense of responsibility for one's own learning.

These four key principles are what I believe drive inquiry-based learning in the classroom. But what are the benefits of Inquiry-Based Learning?

By actively engaging in inquiry-based learning and ensuring genuine student agency students have a deep understanding material and become aware life-long learners. This type of learning goes far beyond memorization, as learners construct their own knowledge through exploration and analysis. Creating and cultivating a classroom or learning space like this will naturally increase motivation and prepare the students for the Real World.

If you want to know more about inquiry in the classroom, reach out!

- Lidia

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