Inquiry learning is based on our natural curiosity to understand the world around and beyond us. It is a dynamic approach to learning that involves exploring the world, asking questions, making discoveries, and testing those discoveries in the search for new understanding. The depth of understanding is greater and richer than other teaching approaches. Inquiry learning is complex, multifaceted, and looks different in different classrooms and contexts.
Inquiry learning develops higher-order critical thinking skills, problem solving abilities, and knowledge and skills for lifelong learning. The knowledge and skills taught are transferable to other learning areas. Students will be able to make connections and use these skills and knowledge in other contexts.
Inquiry learning engages and motivates students in real life situations that are meaningful and relevant to them. These
- go beyond regurgitating knowledge.
- involve problem solving.
- involve applying what is learned.
- result in social action.
The inquiry model at Pigeon Mountain is represented by a four pointed star, each point representing a stage in the process. The star represents the inquiry learning model. The idea is for the children to navigate around the stages and visit each point of the star. It allows the freedom to stop at, or bypass any stage. Questioning, reflecting, refining, evaluating and reviewing are used through the inquiry. The Key Competencies surround the star. As the children develop the key competencies, successful learners are motivated to use them, recognising when and how to do so and why. Students are guided through inquiry. The teacher scaffolds learning for students, gradually removing the scaffolding as students develop their skills.
Questioning is at the centre of inquiry learning at Pigeon Mountain and is fundamental to inquiry learning. SOLO taxonomy is used to formulate questions. Students and teachers ask questions at different levels but with a focus on higher order questions.