From the moment an infant gains consciousness towards the end of an adult’s life, it is within our nature to be curious of our surroundings. Be it a toddler responding to peculiar sounds or a distinguished researcher trying to crack the mysteries of the universe, we are constantly intrigued by the unknown and as a result, drawn to understand it. This said curiosity draws us to learn and more importantly discover our surroundings.
As mankind accumulates knowledge to be taught, different educational methods are being applied but unfortunately most of our dominant methods are heavily reliant on memorizing and is limited to just demonstrating without drawing the importance of questioning the things around us. While educating, humans tend to have the unhealthy habit to expect the learner to listen and repeat expected answers while limiting their authority to question as this is seen to be more “efficient”. Examples can be seen from:
- The obeyance of law without fully questioning its function and purpose
- Popular classical schooling systems that encourage learning through memory and limiting the amount of healthy questioning or challenging of syllabus
- Rigid multinational corporations structures that pressure employees to “ask less and do more”
The lack of true involvement in the things that surround us daily are very much lacking while our systems care too much for this misguided sense of efficiency and profitability. Finally, as humans are driven by the needs of short term success and greed for instantaneous productivity, the disregard of encouraging healthy questions begins and following it, the collapse of human inquiry.
Knowledge is an ever-changing element in life and this can be easily seen through a very general example: our model of the atom. Over the years in our scientific advancement since the discovery of the atom, the atomic model has been revised many times as we continue to discover new things about it1. The atomic model has been updated multiple times as we discover new elements or facts to it and from this example we can observe something very important – Knowledge as an idea, is not constant. Once we see this, the practice of understanding an idea is absolute is dangerous and that is the very reason why we have to constantly inquire about the things around us. Instead of promoting for a learning community that is stagnant which has a set understanding of “wrong and right”, we should let our natural curiosity flourish and ask a strings of “why’s”2. Inquiry might lead us to the restless state where we are in a space without the answers all provided however it is also because of this uncomfortable zone that lead mankind to challenge the unknown and learn to progress. This form of learning – Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL), is known for driving learners to have a process of inquiry of their own which allows them to identify their own issues and questions instead of blindly feeding them answers3.
The memorization of facts is not the core skill required in this arguably fastest advancing age of mankind as facts can change and with internet at our fingertips, information can be easily accessed with minimal effort4. If we practice inquirious attitude towards learning, we will not just gain the power to question but ultimately cross-examine what we receive as information and connect the ideas we learn. Through this, we can identify opportunities to capture them which leads us to “asking the right questions”5.
The importance and advantages of Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL)6:-
- Critical Thinking
It allows the learner to not just know the fact but to question its validity. While knowing a subject provides important foundation, it is the exploration of it that brings understanding. This enables the learner to acquire proper mastery in the art of questioning which in turn leads to more open doors in thought processes.
- Problem-Solving Skills
Being directly involved in a unsolved mystery develops a more acute and flexible mind. Practicing an inquisitive attitude creates drive to solve problems more creatively as one continues to approach an issue more than a singular rigid aspect.
- Sophisticated forms of Thinking
Looking beyond the surface also sparks a deeper form of questioning allows a deeper thought process. From reviewing the sustainability of an idea to its feasibility in real-world application, a sophisticated mind is a powerful one.
- Encouraging Discussion and Collaboration
Since inquiry-based learning sparks debates and discussions, people who practice it will be more engaged in collaborative environments where different ideas are argued and examined. More importantly, this allows the learning of different viewpoints and the importance of striking a healthy balance.
- Looking Beyond Texts
The learner will have a habit of not just accepting facts for the way the are but rather challenging the more different ways that it can be improved. A bold and flexible mind is then cultivated, allowing the person to see beyond the surfaces of many things.
In summary, we are able to see the power of Inquiry-Based Learning and its benefits. With this in practice, we are not only able to upgrade ourselves as better thinkers but ultimately, mold a better future for the human race and all that is around us. In line with it, we at BeED practises this important pedagogy too! Our Learning Experience is designed to comprise a 3-step system of comprehensive phases: Knowledge, Action and Reflection. By applying the IBL, learners ask fundamental questions with through our inquiry statement, investigate about the topic with provided knowledge, create through performing action on site, discuss conceptual questions or ideas and finally reflect on the need to review and debate. Find out more as to how we can help you at www.beedtheworld.com
1 “GCSE Bitesize: Development of Atomic Theory.” BBC Bitesize. BBC, n.d. Web. 03 Jan. 2017.↩
2 Quillen, Ian. “Why Inquiry Learning Is Worth the Trouble.” KQED News. KQED, 29 Jan. 2013. Web. 03 Jan. 2017.↩
3 “What Is Enquiry-Based Learning?” CEEBL. University of Manchester, n.d. Web. 03 Jan. 2017.↩
4 “Inquiry-based Learning.” Thirteen. WNET Education, n.d. Web. 04 Jan. 2017.↩
5 Mathis, Georgia K. “The Power of Asking the Right Questions.” Edutopia. N.p., 24 Aug. 2015. Web. 04 Jan. 2017.↩
6 Cox, Janelle. “All About Inquiry-Based Learning.” TeachHUB. K-12 Teachers Alliance, n.d. Web. 04 Jan. 2017.↩