At Alcuin, we approach learning through inquiry, an approach that allows for student voice and choice. Our goal for students is to empower them to take responsibility for their own learning, where they are able to use their knowledge and understanding to construct meaning for themselves as they learn about the world around them. In an inquiry approach we frame the learning around big ideas and conceptual understandings so that students are able to make connections to their prior knowledge, re-evaluate their thinking and come to a deeper understanding.
Throughout their inquiries, students develop the necessary skills required for learning as they actively engage in solving authentic, real life problems and issues. Teachers provide opportunities for students to engage in a variety of activities and open-ended problem situations that incorporate different learning strategies and approaches, including Problem-Based Learning and Challenge-Based Learning.
At Alcuin we encourage and nurture the students’ curiosity and innate desire to question and explore, which is so evident in young children. In an inquiry classroom you will see children asking questions, working collaboratively, thinking strategically, engaging in discussion, raising different perspectives, investigating, searching for patterns that connect, creating and innovating, and ultimately taking responsibility for their learning. They will be engaged in open-ended explorations that allow them to go as far as they need to go. Inquiry teachers know where their students are, what their potential is, what their needs are and how they learn. They help them to get there by providing learning opportunities that provoke thinking and leave students wanting more.
Assistant Head of School
“Students cannot possibly learn everything of value by the time they leave school, but we can instill in them the desire to keep questioning throughout their lives.” Grant Wiggins
Inquiry-Based Learning is an educational approach that focuses on student-driven investigation, exploration, and discovery. It places an emphasis on questioning, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, allowing students to actively engage in the learning process.
In an Inquiry-Based Learning environment, students are encouraged to ask questions, investigate topics of interest, and develop their own understanding through research and exploration. Rather than simply receiving information from teachers, students take an active role in constructing their knowledge and meaning.
Students are encouraged to ask open-ended questions and identify what they want to learn or understand better.
Students gather relevant information from a variety of sources, such as books, articles, interviews, experiments, or online resources. They evaluate and analyze the information to develop a deeper understanding.
Students design and conduct experiments, surveys, or other activities to explore their questions further. They collect data, make observations, and draw conclusions based on their findings.
Students reflect on their learning experiences, discuss their findings, and make connections between new knowledge and prior understanding.
Students communicate and share their learning outcomes with their peers, teachers, or the wider community through presentations, reports, exhibitions, or other creative means.
Inquiry-Based Learning promotes critical thinking, problem-solving, and self-directed learning skills. It encourages curiosity, independence, and a deeper understanding of concepts, as students actively explore topics that interest them. It also fosters skills such as information literacy, research skills, and effective communication.
Teachers play a supportive role in Inquiry-Based Learning, guiding and facilitating the learning process rather than solely providing answers. They encourage students’ questions, help them find resources, and provide guidance and feedback as needed.
Inquiry-Based Learning promotes a student-centered and active approach to education, empowering students to take ownership of their learning and develop lifelong learning skills.