Learning to Inquire

Our school utilises a concept based inquiry approach to learning. This approach helps develop higher-order 21st century skills of information literacy, critical thinking, collaboration and communication.

Why concept based inquiry?

Concept based inquiry is about big transferable ideas that transcend time, place and situation.

The traditional class learning environment simply focuses on acquiring and communicating facts, while concept based inquiry focuses on making sense of those facts and how they apply to the world around us. We utilise concepts as a way to organise and make sense of learning. We cannot possibly teach everything, but we can teach the big ideas. This is important because content may change, but concepts stay the same. Information is useless unless we can do something with it.

What does concept based inquiry look like in the classroom?

Inquiry-based Learning includes teaching methods built on students' individual knowledge and interests, and emphasises learning how to learn and how to find out, using both traditional and contemporary media. Each teacher has the mandate that the learning within their classroom must be engaging, relevant challenging and significant.

An inquiry can be used to teach across a range of curriculum subjects. Literacy skills are a particular focus of any inquiry as students are required to read, write and communicate ideas across a range of media and for a variety of potential audiences.

The teacher’s role in inquiry based learning is one of ‘guide on the side’ rather than ‘sage on the stage’. This does not mean that the teacher stands back completely. The teacher scaffolds learning for students, gradually removing the scaffolds as students develop their skills. The aim is to get each student to the point where they can undertake their own quality inquiry both independently and skilfully.