Schools explore inquiry based learning
After a 12-school pilot project, inquiry-based learning will be implemented in all Rocky View Schools (RVS) this fall.
RVS created the Instructional Design Planning Framework with 21st century learning specialists Barry Allen and Joshua Hill.
It was designed using research by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe and follows the RVS learning models: universal design for learners, balanced assessment and education by design.
Superintendent of Schools Greg Bass said feedback from teachers about the pilot project has been positive.
“I’ve heard from senior teachers that their only regret is that they didn’t start this earlier in their career,” Bass said.
Inquiry-based learning differs from traditional teaching methods in that it focuses on how students come to know and not what they know.
Adaptable in methodology, inquiry-based learning focuses less on content and teaches students how to become better observers and thinkers through investigation and developing critical thinking skills.
“...rather than consuming information and regurgitating it back,” Allen said.
Teachers begin by developing learner profiles for each student and class that can carry forward throughout their education.
These profiles allow teachers to adapt to the learning needs of students and classes.
In the classroom, this learning method builds upon the natural curiosity of students and empowers them with tools to help them learn.
When students ask questions, teachers focus on teaching them how to find the information they are looking for.
“It puts students in charge of their learning.”
Allen said this instructional method ties in with the 21st century learner.
“Everything is becoming interconnected,” he said.
Helen Clease, RVS trustee, said she is excited about what she has seen during the pilot project.
“The nice thing about it is it’s not just technology-based,” she said.
“Technology is one of the tools, but not everyone wants to do it that way.”
RVS has created an inquiry wiki and blog to share the process with others.
“Sometimes technology is the right piece to bring in,” Hill said.
He said inquiry-based learning builds upon previous development in RVS.
For more information on inquiry-based learning in Rocky View Schools, visit the RVS inquiry wiki at wiki.rockyview.ab.ca/ and the RVS inquiry blog at blogs.rockyview.ab.ca/inquiry>