What are the attributes of inquiry-based learning?
Inquiry-based learning involves a child-based approach to their own learning. This will be through their own questions/problems about a subject or rather a question/problem presented to them by the teacher and the child need to do their own research in finding answers.
Inquiry can take many different forms in the class room but the main attribute is that the child self-directs either how or what they are going to learn.
Why does the PYP take inquiry as its leading pedagogical approach?
As research suggests that children do learn best after being encouraged to ask questions and become a lively participant in finding the solutions to problems their own way. This allows student to attach information to topics they learn in isolation.
What are the implications of this for the teachers? and students?
For students this can be a great tool for the building blocks to getting from something they have previously learned about to creating a new, more holistic understanding. It is the building blocks for depth of learning. They can use the fractions of what they do know as teasers to what they would like to more about. x = y but how do I find z? through their own research to find ‘z’, whilst not only creating this new bank of knowledge it also helps consolidate how they found out that x=y.
Giving the child the opportunity to self-direct how they will carry out their learning this will encourage them to be more responsible over their learning.
The teaching can therefore take a back seat once this process begins and act as the facilitator to guide their learning process. Beforehand however, the teacher may be through helping the children set goals, developing their questioning skills and then later transferring their inquiring skills to other areas such as; personal inquiring, inquiry about society and emotional inquiry.
Why is inquiry-based learning particularly relevant in contemporary society?
I believe it mirrors, accurately, the basis of most members of the adult community learn too. Through their own exploration and investigation. With so many mainstream search engines operating from questions being asked (Ecosia, Google, Bing) this will develop the child’s questioning abilities so in the adult world they can function with more efficacy to learn what they are puzzled about.