Inquiry based learning

The more I delve into curriculum materials in Queensland, the more I find references to ‘inquiry based curriculum‘.

Does anyone have any materials that outline the relationship between (evolution from?) constructivism as a learning theory, inquiry based learning as a general pedagogic approach, and more specific approaches such as project based and games based learning?

Or did using the terms ‘learning theory’, ‘general pedagogy’ and ‘specific pedagogy’ just then pretty much do the job?

I desperately want to explain these ideas to students next semester, but am wary of leading them to believe that newer ideas are intended to replace the older ones, when my message is rather that they should be building a complex pedagogy.

Or is this wrong too…connectivism, anyone?

(This definitely needs some kind of graphic representation eh? Anyone up for a prezi collab?)

Inquiry based curriculum model: developing deep knowledge and understanding

Adopting an inquiry approach ensures that students have the opportunity to examine concepts, issues and information in a range of ways, and from various perspectives.

The inquiry approach values the skills of creative and critical thinking, informed decision-making, hypothesis building and problem-solving. As our society becomes increasingly complex and the role of the citizen becomes even more vital, these skills provide the foundation for discerning citizenship.

Students are encouraged to become active investigators by identifying a range of information, understanding the sources of information and looking for bias in it. They are thus better able to evaluate data and to draw meaningful conclusions which are supported by evidence. Rather than examining an issue from any one perspective, students are challenged to explore other possibilities by applying higher order thinking skills in their decision-making endeavours.

(QLD DET, 2008, ‘Implementing the QCAR: Curriculum‘ accessed today)

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  1. #1 by Laura Thomas on May 17, 2011 - 10:11 am

    We do a lot of work connected with this at my university via our Critical Skills Program. Look at the materials and see if they’re a good fit. We’ve supported inquiry-based instruction in IB schools here in the US and broadly in the UK. Good luck!

    • #2 by kmcg2375 on May 17, 2011 - 10:52 pm

      Thanks Laura – the Critical Skills Program looks really interesting. I like that it is couched in terms of being an element of a school renewal process.
      I thought the critical skills were useful to think about. I can see a lot of overlap with what my previous school ended up identifying as thier “core skills and values” for all students. I’d be interested in what @jangreen31 thought of that…

      Problem Solving
      Decision Making
      Critical Thinking
      Creative Thinking

  2. #3 by Neil Stephenson on May 17, 2011 - 11:38 am

    I work at a school in Calgary Alberta that’s entirely inquiry based. We share a lot of our resources here: I’d be happy to talk more in detail if that’s useful for you.

    Neil Stephenson
    Twitter @Neilstephenson

    • #4 by kmcg2375 on May 17, 2011 - 10:59 pm

      Thanks Neil!
      I’ll take a look, I’m so glad to find stashes of resources like this 🙂 I think it is much easier for teachers to embrace this kind of philosophy if it is underpinned by a whole-school approach – I wonder, has that been the experience in your school?

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