Asking Questions to Facilitate Inquiry Learning
The purpose of inquiry learning sometimes referred to as inquiry-based learning, is to stimulate the learner’s attention. This approach places a greater emphasis on the learner than on the teacher in the classroom. Without contact with an assigned instructor, a learner’s intrinsic curiosity pushes her to investigate a concept and increase her knowledge base through inquiry learning.
This sounds wonderful, but how do we ignite our children’s interest in a subject they want to learn more independently? It’s all about the types of questions we ask students and how we ask them. Practical inquiry questions are more an art than a science. The following are helpful tips for developing inquiry learning in your classroom through pertinent and well-phrased questions.
Why would you go to such lengths?
A teacher-centered classroom is more manageable than a learner-centered, inquiry-based learning environment. Thus, what is the objective of all this effort to alter the way things are done?
As it turns out, inquiry learning enriches the learning experience, resulting in more student involvement and, consequently, fewer everyday classroom management concerns.
Additionally, inquiry learning enables students to build critical problem-solving abilities, fosters a lifelong enthusiasm and passion for learning, and empowers students to take ownership of their education.
Therefore, what types of questions can we ask to foster this type of active learning?
Educators should ask inquisitive questions
There are five characteristics that all practical inquiry-based questioning approaches share:
- The class participates in the inquiry, and pupils are given time to reflect.
- The teacher pre-plans the questions to ensure that they stimulate critical thinking and reasoning.
- The instructor abstains from critiquing or correcting students’ responses. The teacher responds to these student comments in a way that elicits further thought, typically by asking additional questions.
For instance, if you are an art class teacher, you can ask students to write down the first words they think about encountering a particular work of art. Then probe further into their analysis by inquiring why those terms came to mind as they examined the work. Instruct the students to be well detailed in their analysis and to include visual evidence in their responses. Allow sufficient time for learners to carefully view and analyze the artwork before introducing them to your inquiry questions.
What to Do and Not Do with Inquiry-Based Questions
The following are things to avoid when conducting inquiries:
- Inquiring about trivial or inconsequential matters
- Multiple questioning
- Only the “brightest” kids are questioned.
- Posing closed-ended questions with a single correct or erroneous response
- Using phrases such as “well done” to persuade students to halt their inquiries
- Neglecting wrong responses
If you complete the elements stated above, your learner-centered lesson will morph into a lecture focused on the teacher. It takes some consistency to perfect the art of asking inquiry questions, but you will become an expert with time! Every day, implement these methods in your classroom to foster the dynamic and passionate learning environment you’ve always desired for your children.