“The important thing is not to stop questioning” - Albert Einstein
It’s incredible to feel the energy of your students around you, asking questions that you hadn’t thought of before, pursuing THEIR curiosity, and taking full ownership of their learning.
Inquiry-based learning is a teaching method that gives students the opportunity to run the classroom. The classroom becomes a space for student-led exploration -- they ask questions and investigate and research in order to answer them.
Inquiry-based learning has four types: confirmation, structured, guided, and open inquiry, and these student-led learning methods can be used for all subjects, from K-12 to higher ed.
3 Benefits of Student Question-Asking
During the inquiry-learning process, students practice research skills, reflect on progress toward a goal, summarize and communicate their findings, and much more.
1. Raises basic misunderstandings and knowledge gaps
Student questions are information-dense communication points that help an instructor quickly gauge the level of understanding a student has about the topic or project. “The quality of the questions students ask reveals how much they know and how well they learn” (White & Gunstone, 1992).
2. Prompts deeper thinking on a topic
Research shows that asking questions helps students to better retain new information. “Questions activate ‘prior knowledge,’ helping students connect new learnings to what they already know” (Schmidt, 1992).
3. Helps students discover their thinking on a complex topic
When students ask questions they must self-evaluate what they know. “The process of asking questions allows them to articulate their current understanding of a topic… and also to become aware of what they do or do not know” (Chin & Osborne, 2000).
Teaching in an Inquiry-Based Learning Method
- Iteration and Improvement
Tools and Rubrics
- Question Productivity Index (QPI) Rubric - teachers use this rubric to help students self assess their goal-focused questions or sub-research questions.
- Bloom's Taxonomy of Questions - This is great for helping teachers and students think through questions that are meant to better understand content.