My literature review on the theme of inquiry learning is developing slowly at best! Inquiry learning is such a wide topic that I feel an impending need to narrow the focus. I have considered looking at inquiry learning through the lens of game-based and simulation-based learning, but my experience is this area is limited. I could narrow the focus of inquiry learning to the area of elementary school education, but that feels a little bit like a ‘cop out’.
In spite of the general frustration surround my literature review, I have made some progress with respect to content of my research. Through the research I’ve read so far I feel it necessary to include information on the following:
- Define inquiry learning and include a quick review of the different types
- Include a section in my literature review on why inquiry learning is sound pedagogy practice for elementary school educators, and discuss the reasons for change
- The link between inquiry learning and self-regulation skills
Spirals of Inquiry by Judy Halbert and Linda Kaser it has helped me frame some of my thinking about inquiry learning lately. Halbert and Kaser are co-leaders of Networks of Inquiry and Innovation and the Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network. They are also co-directors of the Centre for Innovative Educational Leadership at Vancouver Island University where they teach graduate programs in educational leadership.
According to Halbert and Kaser, the need for inquiry-learning in school is born from a disturbing trend of student disengagement from the current education system in British Columbia. They claim that the current model of education is viewed in one of three ways:
- Educators and government need to focus on the quality of teaching and learning by narrowing down specific learning targets, making sure everyone understands the goal and is prepared to be in it for the long haul.
- Today’s digital learners need to be educated in a system that is radically different from the current model, and a major overhaul is required.
- The system is fine the way it is but is severely underfunded – money will fix the problem.
Spirals of Inquiry attempts to honour all three views in an appeasing manner.
Although I am only halfway through the book, I have appreciated their connection between indigenous culture and inquiry learning – something I would not have considered an obvious link before reading their work. I have attempted to visualize the lens through which Halbert and Kaser view inquiry learning in the diagram below: