How my child profits from inquiry-based learning
In an inquiry-based classroom, pupils take an active role; they formulate questions and try to find answers. Mathematics and scientific learning are linked to the pupils’ experiences and to real life. Pupils learn by exploring open problems. They also work in teams and become skilled in presenting their work and results. Inquiry-based learning provides them with competencies in lifelong learning, in problem-solving and in scientific reasoning. These are exactly the competencies pupils will need beyond school in order to be prepared for their professional lives in a continuously changing future.
Is inquiry-based learning more difficult for my child than a more traditional approach?
Inquiry-based learning is a different way of learning. The pupils are supposed to be more active. They need to work on problems for which an appropriate method is not obvious. If they are not used to this way of working, it might be a challenge for them at the beginning. They need to learn to try to find their own approach instead of waiting for the teacher to explain to them exactly what to do. When they get used to it, they will enjoy exploring problems and experiencing autonomy when working scientifically and mathematically. The goal is not to find the perfect solution, but rather to focus on the working process - a change from earlier teaching and learning methods. When trying to solve problems, mistakes can and do occur – this is perfectly normal. However, in inquiry-based learning, pupils can use their mistakes to develop further ideas that in turn lead to solutions.
Does my child learn enough when the teacher implements inquiry-based learning?
Inquiry-based learning is an important way of learning – but it is not the only way. Thus, in lessons, inquiry is alternated with
other forms of learning.
Furthermore, inquiry-based learning is not a content-free learning method. Pupils just learn things in a different way. More emphasis is placed on reflection, understanding and linking topics to other disciplines. The deeper understanding inquiry-based learning provides, allows teachers and pupils to spend less time on stereotypical exercises where algorithms are memorized.