"Inquiry provides a framework for learning"
After 10 years of teaching, I can say that I fully agree with this belief. As a teacher, we would be doing a disservice to students, and ourselves, if we did not teach students the learning skills, how to use them, the responsibilities that come with it, and how to self-assess.
Doing this four things creates a learner that is able to critically evaluate their situations not only in the classroom, but in life. They are the complex thinkers that can tell right from wrong, know that searching for evidence is important, and can know the right avenue to learn more about a topic.
As a library media specialist, it is my job to teach students how to be responsible inquirers and where they can go to nurture their learning. Kids have curious minds and they need to know where they can go to look for information. It is then important to go through the self-assessment of checking whether the information is credible. In an age where there is information at our fingertips, changing all the time, and published by many, we have a responsibility to educate students about how to be quality learners.
Ways to Foster Inquiry-Based Learning
There are so many great ways to enrich your lessons for this level of thinking. The great thing is that it is put on the students' shoulders. I feel like it gets away from the "song-and-dance" method we are used to doing all the time. Granted, we still have to put on a show every once in awhile, but we also get to put the ownership on the students, which is so key to them getting more out of their learning. Here are some thoughts (Click on blue text links for more information!):
Remember, students want to feel their thoughts are valid and are always looking for approval. They all learn differently and the projects above really let students tap into their own way of research and presentation. All of this feeds into their framework for learning during their entire life!
Fifth grade teacher in a 1:1 iPad classroom, sharing my journey with technology in the classroom