The Focus on Inquiry Research: A Link Between Learning and Engagement

Researchers from the Werklund School of Education and Galileo Educational Network spent much of 2014/15 in the classroom. They wanted to understand how focused, discipline-based inquiry teaching and learning could change not only student learning, but also teaching practices and even organizational change at the school level. How do various professional learning strategies translate to changes in practice? What is the impact of professional learning on student learning?

This blog series will unpack the Focus on Inquiry final report. Explore the Focus on Inquiry website to learn more about the theory behind the findings.

Learning Tools and Technology: Why More Work is Needed thumbnail

It is important students learn about which technologies are most appropriate to the task or the discipline and for collaboration and communication. It is also important that technology is used in both process and product and closely linked to the ways technology is used authentically in the field to advance knowledge.

Assessment: Feedback from Teachers thumbnail

The Focus on Inquiry study saw Galileo mentors/researchers work with teachers and students in Alberta classrooms as they operated through an inquiry-based lens. Much of the professional learning centered around quality formative assessment. Essentially, it’s about providing feedback while learning takes place - feedback that’s strong enough to inform both the teacher and student’s next steps.

Dimensions of Inquiry: Assessment thumbnail

One of the most powerful influences on student learning is quality formative assessment. This means students are provided with timely, specific feedback and feed forward while learning takes place, supporting the students learning, helping teachers identify learning gaps and informing the next steps for both students and teachers.

Dimensions of Inquiry: Academic Rigor thumbnail

Gaining deep understanding, developing strong habits of mind, and how you approach problems in multiple ways – that’s academic rigor. Academic rigor is the second of the eight dimensions, and in a nutshell, refers to the degree of complex thinking required by students.

Dimensions of Inquiry: Authenticity thumbnail

Teaching in response to student learning – an easy concept to understand, but how does it really work in the classroom and why do students benefit?

Dimensions of Inquiry thumbnail

When inquiry is front and center, teachers and students discover that each discipline, or area of study, has its own way of investigating, bringing forward evidence, communicating and generating knowledge.

Inquiry for Students, Inquiry for Teachers: New Research Supports Focus on Inquiry Findings thumbnail

From teachers who build towards inquiry in the classroom, to those same professionals who seek improvement by adopting these principles in their own practice, two recently published studies add to the body of knowledge that is inquiry-based learning.

Inquiry in the Classroom: What Teachers Need thumbnail

Discipline-based inquiry results in highly engaged students and teachers who say they are more reflective when it comes to task design and their practice, generally. But the Focus on Inquiry study also revealed misunderstandings about inquiry in the classroom. Teachers and Galileo Educational Network mentors identified the following factors that would help to cultivate a… Read More

Bats, Buildings and Saving the Species: A Science Inquiry thumbnail

Here’s what happens when Grade 1/2 students become interested in bats, and how that fits in with the science curriculum – which included building things, seasonal changes and changes in local animal populations. A discussion about hibernating animals led to questions about bats. Students learned the local population was being threatened during the cold winter… Read More

Tasks and Activities: Challenges and Misunderstandings thumbnail

We’ve been talking about strong tasks – the 'hard fun' when students confront those big issues and questions that even experts in the field of study are encountering. You have a great task when students go well beyond merely thinking about a concept – rather students are involved in work that connects them to the… Read More