Engaging Inquisitive Minds
“Inquiry-based teaching” covers a wide range of educational methods. What does it mean at Seattle Country Day School?
We asked a few of our teachers:
“Inquiry means asking the right questions rather than instantly supplying answers. And those questions more often than not are, ‘Why?’, ‘Why not?’, and ‘What if?'"
“It’s about supplying the basic components of a lesson and then creating an environment where students can make connections for themselves. It’s not me being a fountain of knowledge, it’s them trying and testing until they arrive at the correct conclusion themselves—often in one of those 'a-ha!' moments they’ll always remember.”
“Inquiry encourages making mistakes and makes it safe to do so. It also encourages diversity of thought—multiple perspectives and collaborative thinking on any given problem.”
Through inquiry, teachers steer the learning and set the objectives, but students blaze their own trails for getting there, individually and together. Learning is more often than not a kinetic experience in which lessons are learned as much with the body and spirit as with the mind. Students build, make, act, produce, and publish. They explore, experiment, create, collaborate, guess, obsess, test, poke, prod, model, stretch—and, yes, fail.
The result? Deeper mastery of the subject matter, as well as an understanding of self and the surrounding world that leads to lifelong curiosity and confidence.
Perhaps best of all, according to one of our teachers, “Inquiry makes for a really fun day.”