Inquiry-Based Learning at Richmond View, Blenheim.
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Inquiry-based learning or IBL is a concept that is being embraced by New Zealand’s education department.
The leadership and staff recognise that IBL gives learners greater freedom of choice and supports children in developing skills in collaboration, critical thinking, communication and creativity – some of the skills that the World Economic Forum (2017) acknowledge that children need to develop to be effective as adults in the workplace.
RICHMOND VIEW SCHOOL, BLENHEIM
Located on the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, Richmond View School have developed an inquiry process that is appropriate to their context; a process that involves the following five well defined stages:
- curiosity – captivating and engaging interest / a provocation
- take stock – children considering what they already know about the area and starting to determine a path of inquiry related to their interest
- discovery – children thinking about the resources they have to find out information related to their interest and beginning the research process
- communicate – children taking action and sharing what they have learnt in an appropriate format
- reflection – taking time to evaluate and reflect on learning, considering where to next
Teachers at Richmond acknowledge that they need to think and plan differently, especially to ensure that curriculum requirements are fulfilled at the same time as IBL is facilitated.
Rather than studying individual subjects – which can have the danger of them being viewed as unrelated – the IBL approach champions the ‘connectedness’ of learning. It also gives children the opportunity to extend their knowledge and understanding by going deeper. The whole approach is incredibly exciting, inspiring and stimulating – both for the observer, and for the children themselves, who are active participants in learning.
Having first read about and now being exposed to IBL first-hand in New Zealand, Soul Action believes that this approach to education will be well suited to any primary school that emerges from the Reggio-style preschool it is proposing to establish in Durban. IBL represents a way of continuing to support children as they develop the skills they require for the 21st century, by continuing that sense of wonder, inquisitiveness and collaboration nurtured in their early years, alongside the teaching of key skills in reading, writing & math.