4 Powerful Benefits of Inquiry-Based Learning
Thinking about trying an inquiry-based approach in your classroom? There are many benefits to this approach; some you may not have thought of! This list provides an idea of what we believe to be the four strongest benefits of an inquiry-based classroom.
1) Increased engagement
When students are given ownership of their ideas and receive regular support and encouragement from their teachers, the benefits are astounding. One of those ways is an increased level of engagement. For example, this may look like:
- Attentive listening
- Asking deep, thoughtful questions
- Improved organization skills to make the most of their time
- Frequently in a state of “flow” (more about the concept of flow here)
Furthermore, research has shown that students who use inquiry-based approaches in the classroom are more engaged and motivated to learn. It is no wonder that when a student feels in control of their own learning, amazing things can result.
More ideas for how to spark your students’ engagement can be found here
2) Stronger connections
The beauty of inquiry-based learning is that it is not confined to a single subject. In fact, you can touch on several subjects in a single session. With a focus on “big ideas”, students’ questions lead to knowledge acquisition in several subject areas. Teachers and educators need to have deep knowledge and understanding of “big ideas” that not only the curriculum demands but also the students demand. When students go through the inquiry process they discover connections between subjects they hadn’t imagined existed. For example, how mathematical concepts such as shape and line can be integrated into a beautiful painting to make it eye-catching and interesting. How can you tease out these observations?
3) Building curiosity
Curiosity is natural. From birth humans have a natural inkling towards curiosity and behave in ways that demonstrate a desire to learn about the world around them. Even as babies, children use their senses to explore their new world. As they get older, they build upon this foundation of curiosity. Furthermore, they replace simple observation with asking questions about the things they see, feel, touch, and hear around them. Their natural curiosity is nurtured, and their spark of wonder and learning becomes alive and nourished.
A great resource on the topic of curiosity can be found here.
4) Skill development
The most important skills in the 21st century are no longer fact memorization or rote learning. Instead, an understanding of acquiring and making sense of the mass amounts of data available to our students is key. During inquiry-based learning, teachers and educators need to go beyond information accumulation and focus more on seeking appropriate resolutions to questions and issues that are important for their students and the world around them. Consequently, nurturing the development of inquiry skills, as well as the attitudes or habits that will help students make sense of their learning, is crucial. Some of these skills include:
- Critical thinking during reading and listening
- Skimming and scanning techniques
- Note taking (jot notes, sketching, etc)
- Deciphering what information is useful and what is not
- Self-assessment and reflection
- Responsibility, organization, independent work
- Collaboration and teamwork
What to read next:
- Inquiry Skills Booklet (COMING SOON)