Inquiry - Why do our students need this skill?

Inquiry - Why do our students need this skill?
Inquiry - Why do our students need this skill?
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A good question can open minds, shift paradigms, and force the uncomfortable but transformational cognitive dissonance that can help create thinkers. In education, we tend to value a student's ability to answer our questions. But what might be more important is their ability to ask their own great questions–and more critically, their willingness to do so.

Inquiry - Why do our students need this skill?

Inquiry is one of ISK's Performance Areas within the Educational Aims. What do we mean by inquiry at ISK?

Early Years

Elementary

Middle School

High School

  • I can ask a question
  • I can investigate and explore different ideas
  • I can tell which information is important
  • I can organise my thinking in different ways
  • I can explore my interests by asking questions
  • I ask questions about how things work and why things happen
  • I see patterns in the world and make observations
  • I ask questions to increase my knowledge
  • I ask questions to clarify and interpret information
  • We can independently locate information from diverse sources and viewpoints
  • We can critically examine arguments and explanations
  • We can ask new questions, use tools and strategies to create solutions
  • We can design, conduct, monitor and evaluate long-term investigations
  • Formulates thought-provoking questions to guide investigation of complex issues and abstract ideas.
  • Seeks information drawn from a range of sources, including prior knowledge
  • Makes connections between ideas in complex scenarios to better understand them (HOL)

You will notice that one of the key components of inquiry is asking good questions. Why do we teach students to ask good questions?

"Izzy, did you ask a good question today?"

The question that the mother of 1944 Nobel physics laureate Isidor Rabi asked him every day when he got home from school – quite different from the query of most other mothers in his neighbourhood: "So? Did you learn anything today?" Rabi says that his mother's daily prod made him a scientist; quoted in "The Role of Questioning and Deep Thinking in the Learner-Ready School Library" by Kathryn Roots Lewis in Knowledge Quest, January/February 2019 (Vol. 47, #3, p. 4-5)

Questions can be extraordinary learning tools.

A good question can open minds, shift paradigms, and force the uncomfortable but transformational cognitive dissonance that can help create thinkers. In education, we tend to value a student's ability to answer our questions. But what might be more important is their ability to ask their own great questions–and more critically, their willingness to do so. (Heick, Terry)

So, when your child comes home from school, don't ask, "How was school?" Instead have your child tell you what questions she asked. It will give you great insight into what your child is thinking and learning.

Resources:

8 Strategies to Help Students Ask Great Questions