Tuesday, December 1, 2015

On the importance of inquiry for real learning

When "meaningful inquiry" leads the CLIL unit, effective learning follows

Traditional school systems have continuously discouraged the natural process of inquiry. However; whether we notice or not, inquiry is an important part of our lives. If you place close attention you'll notice that we don't ask ourselves just any question but only the ones that matter to us. In order to - decide, plan, make choices, compare, classify, hypothesize, figure out. As infants, we begin to make sense of the world by inquiring. Babies observe, grasp objects and put things in their mouths. We seek information by seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling.

In our everyday lives, we are we are constantly solving small and big problems by questioning and inquiring.  We naturally ask ourselves: should I take the train or the bus? Is it necessary to take an umbrella today? Will he be upset if I cancel the appointment? How should I dress for an interview? How am I going to deal with a difficult student? Will she be offended if I am honest? This is just the way our brain works. 
Higher order thinking creates more connections in the brain. The same occurs when we combine new information with knowledge we gained in the past. 

Inquiry and Learning

To provoke meaningful inquiry from our students is not enough to just present coherent or understandable material, well organized information or a thematic unit organized around a topic.

What is inquiry?

Inquiry implies a "need or want to know" premise

Inquiry is not about getting the right answer - because often there is none -- but rather seeking appropriate resolutions to questions and issues. As CLIL teachers, we should work on developing our students 'inquiry skills to help them follow this knowledge quest attitude throughout their lives.
A meaningfully inquiry project should be carefully designed to let the student authentically wonder. After this first step is taken learners will creatively construct new learning by linking to prior knowledge and experience through motivation and active learning.
Any CLIL model  that  places a real emphasis on the inquiry process will undoubtedly be a successful one. An authentic process that will allow them to take their learning to the next level and beyond. 

*If you'd like to continue reading about the Inquiry process check: