Notes for Educators for Inquiry-Based Learning

Inquiry-based learning is fundamental for the development of higher order thinking skills. According to Bloom's Taxonomy, the ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information or new understandings indicates a high level of thinking. Teachers should be encouraging divergent thinking and allowing students the freedom to ask their own questions and to learn the effective strategies for discovering the answers. The higher order thinking skills that students have the opportunity to develop during inquiry activities will assist in the critical thinking skills that they will be able to transfer to other subjects.

As shown in the section above on the neuroscience of inquiry learning, it is significant to scaffold students to teach them how to inquire and inquire through the four levels. It cannot be assumed that they know how to inquire without foundational skills. Scaffolding the students at a younger age will result in enriched inquiring learning later.

Inquiry-based learning can be done in multiple formats, including:
Case studies
Individual and group projects
Research projects

Remember to keep in mind...
Teacher is Facilitator in IBL environment
Place needs of students and their ideas at the center
Don't wait for the perfect question, pose multiple open-ended questions.
Work towards common goal of understanding
Remain faithful to the students' line of inquiry
Teach directly on a need-to-know basis
Encourage students to demonstrate learning using a range of media
Necessity for teacher training

There is a necessity for professional collaboration when executing a new inquiry program (Chu, 2009; Twigg, 2010). The teacher training and process of using inquiry learning should be a joint mission to ensure the maximal amount of resources are used and that the teachers are producing the best learning scenarios. The scholarly literature supports this notion. Twigg's (2010) education professionals who participated in her experiment emphasized year round professional development sessions, such as workshops, weekly meetings and observations, to ensure inquiry is being implemented in the class correctly. Another example is Chu's (2009) study, where the participants appreciated the professional collaboration of educators, information technicians and librarians to provide more resources and expertise for preparing the structure and resources for the inquiry project. To establish a professional collaboration and researched training methods, administration support is required for funding.