Inquiry-based learning is a new approach to involve students more in their education. As opposed to traditional learning methods where a teacher provides facts and concepts that students should absorb, inquiry-based learning puts the emphasis on the child to be responsible for his or her own learning experience by exploring the material being presented, asking questions, and sharing ideas with the other students in the class.
Contrary to traditional educational methods where students are not engaged with the material being presented and can quickly get bored, inquiry-based teaching engages each student to provide a more effective learning experience. Considering that most people only retain about five percent of what they hear and 10 percent of what they read—yet we retain 75 percent of what we physically do—inquiry-based learning is far more effective. It has become the primary base for education at International Baccalaureate® (IB) schools, especially when it comes to the Primary Years Programme (PYP)
The benefits of inquiry-based learning are many. It:
– Enhances Learning Experiences For Children: Sitting in a classroom while an instructor presents a lecture can get boring quickly. By being allowed to explore, the student is more engaged.
– Teaches Skills For All Areas Of Learning: Inquiry-based learning builds critical thinking and better communications skills.
– Fosters Curiosity In Students. In order to understand a topic, they need to explore it.
– Deepens Students’ Understanding Of Concepts and Topics. Instead of taking notes from a classroom lecture and memorizing facts and figures, inquiry-based learning allows the students to fully explore a topic to gain a better understanding of it.
– Allows Students To Take Ownership Of Their Learning: As we all know, there is more than one way to learn and not all students respond to lessons the same. Inquiry-based learning allows students to learn in their own way.
– Fosters A Life-Long Love Of Learning: When something is a task, it’s mundane. When something is fun and challenging, it’s more enjoyable.
The Primary Years Programme includes kindergarten through fifth grade, although some schools that offer PYP will also accept infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers. The idea is, the earlier a child is exposed to inquiry-based material and concepts, the sooner they can start moving on to more difficult ideas, and the more well-rounded their total education will be.
In all phases of the IB, parents are very involved in their children’s education. The better the parents understand inquiry-based education, the more they’ll be able to practice the concept at home or when out in the community. Parents of PYP students tend to meet more regularly with their student’s teachers than public school parents, so they can be appraised of the students’ progress, and to keep the parents up to speed on any new ideas that are being introduced that should be incorporated into the student’s home life.