We’ve all been there, where we’re looking for ways to spice up our lesson plans and improve our student participation in class. This week we will take a look at different learning methods that are sure to get you out of your funk in the classroom, and these strategies encourage innovative learning and increased classroom involvement. The first item on our learning list is Inquiry-Based Learning, and this trend has been around for over half a century.
What is Inquiry-Based Learning?
Originally introduced in the 1960s, as an alternative method of instruction, this approach encourages students to use critical thinking, questions, and problem solving skills to learn. At the time this method was introduced, students were largely memorizing facts out of books, and this method allowed them to ask questions instead of repeating answers. Natural inquiry is something that we use throughout our entire lives, even if most of us are only looking things up on Google. By allowing students to ask their own questions, teachers aren’t simply lecturing to students they are encouraging their individual growth and development of their thought process.
How can you apply Inquiry-Based Learning principles?
The main thing to remember, when you are creating your Inquiry-Based Learning lesson plans, is to shift instruction to the hands of the students. Even though you have standards to teach, you have to develop a way for students to ask necessary questions to cover those standards without lecturing facts. As long as you have age appropriate activities, assignments for students to work on, and discovery in your lessons, students will start to formulate their own questions about your content. Also, the incorporation of hands on activities is an easy way to get students involved in Inquiry-Based Learning, without them even being aware of it.
Inquiry-Based Learning Resources
Now, that you have decided to incorporate Inquiry-Based Learning in your classroom, there are resources that you can utilize to make the process seamless. An I-Chart is a strategy that you can use that encourages students to dissect a topic through previous knowledge or information found through new sources. There are also other resources you can reference that tell the best ways to implement Inquiry-Based Learning in the classroom. These helpful tools show you how to make this teaching method the most effective and how to foster a learning environment for questions.
Inquiry-Based Learning is one of the many ways that you can give instruction in your classroom a much needed facelift. If you face some issues when you first introduce this method, remember to be consistent with your approach and encourage students to ask their own sets of questions. How do you feel Inquiry-Based learning works in your classroom versus traditional approaches, and is this a method you would recommend to other educators?