Inquiry-based learning is a pedagogy that encourages students to learn through exploring the world around them and engaging in high-level questioning. It prioritises problem-solving and learning through experience.
While inquiry-based learning is an exciting and different approach to education, it is still often misrepresented and misunderstood by many. Here are some myths and misconceptions associated with this learning process as we delve deeper into the subject:
1. It’s a brand new concept
Because it has only recently started to gain traction in modern preschools and childcare centres in Singapore, inquiry-based learning is assumed to be a recent concept. In actuality, there is evidence that it’s existed for thousands of years. Its principles have been seen in the Socratic Method – dating back to the Greek philosopher Socrates himself. However, it only started gaining prominence as a method of learning in the 1960s.
2. It’s too time-consuming
Many assume that inquiry-based learning is inherently messy and too much of a hassle. This might be because it hinges almost entirely on the child rather than the teacher. Children are generally less predictable and allowing them to take a more active role in what they learn might make some nervous. Truthfully, incorporating inquiry-based learning into a curriculum is as simple as setting time aside to ask questions that lead to more conversations. It will only be a matter of time before this learning approach becomes second nature to the children, who will be able to lead discussions on their own while the teachers oversee the improvements they’ve made. Once participants find a comfortable pace, the process is quick and they will be able to cover more learning than ever before.
3. There is no learning structure
Often, when people think of the term “student-led” being applied to a curriculum, they think of a chaotic situation with no rules or sign of any structure. They cannot picture anything constructive occurring in that classroom, especially not learning; this is blatantly false.
Children are more curious and interested in learning than they are given credit for. They have vivid imaginations that help bridge potential gaps in their understanding. While the teachers are around to correct their mistakes, their main goal is to provide a conducive environment for the children’s explorations. To do that, they will often pose intriguing questions, facilitate experimentation, and encourage critical thinking. The children will learn better through experience than they will any other way. Additionally, what they learned and how they learned it would remain relevant throughout their lifetimes.
4. It isn’t universal
Inquiry-based learning is best suited for students of all kinds and age groups. It is a highly adaptable learning process that can be adjusted to an individual’s disposition and experiences quite easily. Despite its ambiguity, there are guidelines that lead to the set goal.
While inquiry-based learning is for everyone, it is particularly suited for preschool students because of the space it allows for creativity and exploration, as well as the malleability and absorption potential children have.
Despite having existed for a long time, inquiry-based learning can still be a mystery. Yet, it is a tried and tested method of encouraging learning through exploration, imagination, and creative thinking. At Raffles Kidz, we seamlessly employ this pedagogy through our well-trained teachers and provide students with the conducive learning environment they deserve. Book a tour with us today to find out more!