Inquiry learning and teaching is not just a block in the day at Northbridge International School Cambodia. It is an approach to learning that not only helps our young people to achieve academically, but also socially and emotionally. Your children may come home talking about unit of inquiry, but they are learning through inquiry all of the time - from our youngest children in EL2 to our Grade 5s. Education through an inquiry approach places the child's questions, ideas and observations at the centre of the learning experience.
Inquiry is naturally the way humans learn. As babies, we look at the world, make predictions, try things, try again, try again, and make sense of what happens. This is how we develop theories on how the world works and these theories are constantly evolving.
When an 8 month old throws their spoon off the highchair they are looking to see what will happen. Does it drop to ground? Yes. Will it drop to the ground if I try again? Yes. Oh look, Dad picks it up. Will he pick the spoon up again if I drop it?
Sometimes your child's actions might not make no sense to you, but they may be testing their own theory. They are learning by doing. That is why you will see children at Northbridge discussing, building and making.
Our role as educators is not to fill your child's head with facts and figures. Our role is to help spark curiosity and support our young people to develop the attitudes and skills they need to find the answers for themselves.
We want our children to be doing the majority of the thinking in the classroom. We want them to own their learning and be engaged with what they are doing. We want them to think and make meaning. We want them to set their own learning goals and plan the steps they will need to take to achieve them.
We want young people who will take action to make a difference and who 'see themselves as competent, capable and active agents of change' (Oxfam 2015).
So next time your child comes home from school and you ask, 'What did you do in school today?' and they reply, 'Nothing', try asking some of these questions instead.
What made you curious today?
Did you achieve something today?
Who did you collaborate with today?
What did you find difficult today?
Do you have a question that you don't know the answer to?
How could we find out more?
So, how can you find out more? Well, I'll start you off with some links, but then you need to be an inquirer, ask some questions and find some answers for yourself.
People you could talk to:
Your child's teacher
The Primary leadership team