Stimulating inquiry about inquiry

Reflect: Think about the readings and activities of the course thus far. Include thoughts about your own experiences and what others have shared.

Create: Generate a genuine question about inquiry or inquiry-based learning (one that you’d like to know the answer to or to understand better). Ideally, this is indexed in some way to the readings and activities, the common experience of the class.

Discuss -> Create: Work with a partner to select one (or two) questions. Then, refine the question(s) so that they are most likely to stimulate rich discussion and inquiry by the class, as well as giving you the answers you seek. Use what you know about inquiry-based learning to make the question generative.

Ask -> Discuss: Present the question to the class and lead a discussion that starts with the question. The question may help you converge on an answer, or diverge to interesting additional issues.

Investigate: Continue the inquiry beyond the class time.


The questions below were generated by students in the Inquiry-Based Learning class on May 21, 2015. They sparked excellent discussions, which were thoughtful, connected, tied to the readings and shared experiences, and neither overly specific nor vague and general.

  • What role, if any, can an outsider play with respect to situated, community-based inquiry? This is both a practical and moral question.
  • How do we identify (or distinguish) between open learning in general and practices that embody the full progressive impulse, with its democratic aims? E.g., the Quest to Learn schools structure the curriculum around video games and play,. They’re very engaging, but may not have an explicit agenda to promote democracy.
  • How can we foster inquiry experiences with limited or inconsistent time, for example, different kids showing up on different days of an after school program?
  • How do we initiate an inquiry process for adults, including graduate/professional students, and working professionals?
  • How can we structure a unit so that students develop important skills versus simply carrying out some activity?
  • How can we use inquiry-based learning in real settings where there are many students and limited access to materials?

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