Inquiry-based learning is a learning process that encourages pupils to ask questions, gather information, and accumulate knowledge through a problem-solving and investigation process.
This approach to education has gained popularity due to its ability to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century. For instance, this approach is known to develop pupils’ soft skills—teamwork and communication, as well as adaptability and critical thinking—which are important competencies that pupils need as they navigate complex situations in this day and age.
Read on to learn more about the inquiry-based learning approach and some strategies parents can adopt in their day-to-day lives.
What is Inquiry-Based Learning?
Inquiry-based learning helps pupils to connect what they have learnt in the classroom with their everyday experiences, increasing their awareness of the world around them.
At The Perse School Singapore, our inquiry learning approach fosters creativity, innovation, and analytical abilities among our pupils, and helps them build transferable skills needed for success.
What are the 3 Types of Inquiry-Based Learning?
Here, we’ll explore the three types of inquiry-based learning and how they can enhance pupil learning.
1. Structured Inquiry: This is a teaching method where the teacher provides resources and step-by-step guidelines, and pupils follow an organised method to investigate and find a predetermined solution to a problem or question.
2. Guided Inquiry: Guided inquiry is a learning approach where the teacher presents the research questions and procedures. However, unlike structured inquiry, pupils are leading the inquiry process on what processes they want to follow and what solutions to seek.
3. Open Inquiry: In open inquiry, pupils get to select their own inquiry question and approach. They are involved in continuous decision-making through the entire process, which requires high-order thinking capabilities.
What are Examples of Inquiry-Based Learning?
Inquiry-based learning is a pupil-centred approach that promotes learning ownership and skills development beyond the classroom. Below are three examples of inquiry-based learning:
1. Science experiments
The Perse School Singapore prioritises a first-hand learning process and incorporates multi-sensory and experiential techniques in teaching.
Our two purpose-built labs offer pupils opportunities for hands-on experiments and research, building a practical foundation for scientific knowledge. This empowers our pupils to take ownership of their own learning and develop skills beyond the classroom.
For example, pupils predict which materials are waterproof by exploring material properties and then observing the results by pouring water on them. This activity teaches pupils about material properties, making predictions, and analysing results.
2. Field trips
The Perse School Singapore frequently organises field trips for each year group, providing outdoor learning experiences and opportunities for pupils to explore beyond the classroom environment.
Visiting museums is also another example of a field trip that enables pupils to learn about history, art, and culture in an interactive manner. These activities brings the curriculum to life and enable pupils to engage with the subject matter more meaningfully.
3. Global Perspective Day
The Perse School Singapore hosts an annual event called Global Perspectives Day.
Last year, the theme was ‘Reuse, Reduce and Recycle’. Pupils came together to brainstorm and solve this global environmental issue—from a personal, local and global perspective—using an interdisciplinary perspective across subjects like English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities, and Digital Literacy.
Through such themes, pupils learn to become better global citizens by developing valuable skills such as researching, analysing, evaluating, reflecting, collaborating, and communicating, and becoming more aware of the world around them.
What are the Benefits of Inquiry-Based Learning?
Inquiry-based learning greatly benefits pupils by helping them absorb and retain school material better. It encourages pupils to understand the subject matter in-depth and supports an alternative learning style compared to traditional rote memorisation.
On top of that, this form of learning empowers pupils to think and reason independently and reflectively, encouraging them to become more responsible when they’re making decisions.
Finally, this approach has been shown to motivate and engage pupils better, increasing their joy of learning throughout the entire learning journey.
What are some Inquiry-Based Learning Strategies?
Here are four strategies parents can use to support their child’s inquiry-based learning:
1. Keep it simple: To encourage children’s love for learning and exploration, parents can try fun activities such as borrowing library books outside their usual preferences, setting up a provocation table with different items, and creating a small table with chalk.
2. Be observers: Observation is a crucial skill that pupils should practice by being more mindful of their surroundings and vocalising their observations.
3. Include enjoyable projects: Children are naturally curious and eager to explore. At home, you can encourage creativity with fun projects like “I Spy”, robotic kits, and stop-motion animation.
4. Be a co-learner: Parents can become co-learners and facilitate collaboration by encouraging curiosity and excitement in learning. For instance, when a child asks a question, it is better to reply, “let’s find out the answer together!”
Ready to Experience the Excitement of Learning?
At The Perse School Singapore, we are committed to nurturing the curious minds of every child through inquiry-based instruction.
Our inquiry approach encourages our pupils to explore their interests and passions and foster their sense of intellectual wonder, while our educators work alongside them and provide the important tools and resources that they need to succeed.
Book a tour with us today to see first-hand how we cultivate intellectual curiosity and a love of learning in our pupils!