The inquiry approach puts students’ questions at the centre of learning. Students exploring this website are invited to follow their interests, develop questions, explore the resources, and formulate their own ideas. Teachers may use the curriculum connections we suggest to guide student inquiry.
The inquiry approach motivates students to explore ideas more deeply. In inquiry learning, the teacher provides a framework for investigation and uses appropriate instructional interventions to develop skills. Most of all, the teacher takes a learning stance, modeling strategies for success.
While inquiry is driven by student interest, the teacher plays an essential role through modeling and direct teaching of skills such as contributing and extending ideas, formulating questions, accessing and using resources, organizing and synthesizing information, and effective communications strategies for sharing learning. The teacher provides ongoing descriptive feedback to students throughout the inquiry process. Most of all, the teacher moves from an information delivery stance to a co-learning stance, modeling critical inquiry and developing the meta-cognitive skills of learning how to learn.
Through inquiry learning, students:
- learn how to be independent and articulate thinkers,
- are active participants in a collaborative learning environment,
- follow their own interests to develop authentic and meaningful lines of inquiry,
- develop skills of critical thinking, including developing questions and synthesizing ideas,
- develop their own voice, learning how to communicate ideas effectively to a broader audience,
- seek and act on formative feedback from teachers and peers, and
- develop the deeper skills of thinking, questioning, critical analysis, communication and collaboration essential for success in our rapidly changing world.
Waterloo Region District School Board Library Learning Resources
The Research Process: Research Questions
The Research Process: Developing Questions
The Research Process: Organizing Ideas
These pages include downloadable graphic organizers to support students as they develop critical inquiry skills.
More about Inquiry Learning