Inquiry-based learning: Why? Where? How?

Carol Hartland


There is a wealth of theoretical literature and research on why inquiry-based learning functions so well. However, there is very little on the practicality of using such theories and approaches in the classroom. My aim here is to give a description, based on entries in a reflective journal, of the progress through the initial stages of designing a constructivist curriculum. Developmental transition from traditional forms of teaching requires a massive paradigm shift. This is an account, giving examples, of how I have been using a variety of multifaceted strategies in a primary classroom. Using teacher-as-researcher methodologies, I now see the pedagogical power of questions and how the way I use questions can mean the difference between my students gaining deeper understanding or just learning of facts. I will explain how prompting students to ask carefully considered questions can help them construct understanding as they attempt to bring meaning to their experiences. In a constructivist classroom, students demonstrate their responsibility by being proactive, deciding their own goals and learning to take part in their own assessment, which also allows us to interpret their level of understanding.

Full Text: PDF

Editor-in-Chief: Prof Norbert Pachler
UCL Institute of Education, University College London
ISSN 1746-9082

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