What is Inquiry-Based Learning and How Should You Use it in Your Classroom?

By Huntington Learning Center

You’re always trying to find new ways to enhance your students’ education and help them learn most effectively. Have you explored inquiry-based learning? This student-centered approach engages students in their own learning by encouraging them to ask questions, explore, think and discuss.

Here’s how to incorporate it into your teaching methods:

  • Present ideas as problems or questions. Rather than deliver information, try to frame up topics for discussion by asking questions and inviting students to make connections and debate ideas.
  • Break out into discussion groups. Key to inquiry-based learning is discussion and argumentation. At opportune times, group your students strategically so that every student has chances to share their insights and hear those of their peers. Move around the room to spark conversation and encourage students to take different viewpoints for greater deliberation.
  • Encourage contemplation on paper. Group dialogue is great when every student speaks up, but another way to invite students to reflect and problem solve is to have them write down their ideas. For example, you could write a question on the whiteboard and have everyone take five minutes to answer it. Then you can read those anonymous answers or just a sampling. The real value is in the thinking process when students write their responses.

Inquiry-based learning fosters students’ critical thinking and curiosity. Use it in your classroom whenever you have a chance to deepen student comprehension and engagement.