“We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.” Lloyd Alexander
What is inquiry learning?
This investigation started with research from Carol Kuhlthau where she explains this process as going “beyond merely fact finding to personal understanding” (2010, p. 4). I have likened this to the getting of wisdom and wonder if this inquiry learning process is a professional model of practice that can be taught to teachers and students alike? I read Mark Treadwell‘s book, The Conceptual Age and the Revolution School 2.0 and enjoyed the chapter about inquiry learning but have not put this into practice yet. Treadwell states that “the development of inquiry is now seen as a core capability in developing a lifelong learning capability within the move to the emerging education paradigm” (2008, p. 75) and having no real experience in this area I am excited by this opportunity to learn more.
What does expert inquiry learning look like?
If inquiry is a way of learning then what does best practice look like? Kuhlthau explains that Guided Inquiry “is a research approach to learning” (2010, p.2) but that it is guided by a team to gain a deeper understanding. “Inquiry provides the opportunity to create a third space and Guided Inquiry enables students to make their own connections within the inquiry process” (ibid,. p 5-6). The idea of new knowledge being developed in the third space is exciting – does this mean the student’s background knowledge and the teacher’s mandated curriculum can be met in the middle? A perfect answer to the crowded curriculum conundrum.
How do we recognise the critical moment when we are to intervene?
The important part of this will be to ask the deep and rich questions and keep asking and stretching our researchers too – all at the right time. What will this time look like? How will I know when to do this stretch? The social construction that learning will come through isn’t limited to just us in classrooms anymore. It is important to teach wider thinking, questioning and make links to our State Libraries and even the Public Records Office. How can we guide and not give away the information? Is there a best search model to follow? I am interested in the Information Search Process (ISP) that the inquiry process described by Kuhlthau (2010) as this seems to offer deep learning and thinking but are there others to investigate? It will be interesting to reflect on this over the semester and decide if Kuhlthau, who stated, “an inquiry approach is a most efficient way to learn” (2010, p. 6) is indeed correct.
Kuhlthau, Carol. (2010). Guided inquiry : school libraries in the 21st century School Libraries Worldwide, 16 (1), 1-12.
Treadwell, M. (2008). The Conceptual Age and the Revolution Schoolv2.0. Australia: Hawker Brownlow Education.
Image retrieved from: http://wiredwaihi.wikispaces.com/Inquiry+Learning