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Building a Culture of Inquiry

   Galileo Educational Network    February 9, 2016    Focus On Inquiry Research Series

This is the first in a series examining a joint research project involving the University of Calgary and Galileo staff. Focus on Inquiry research took place in dozens of Alberta schools during the 2014/15 school year. Here, we analyze the theory and findings of how discipline-based inquiry can improve student engagement in learning. This week’s entry serves as a quick introduction to the report, which is available here.

Schools can deepen engagement in learning by consciously building a culture of inquiry amongst students, staff, and leaders, says a new study out of the University of Calgary and Galileo Educational Network.

The Focus on Inquiry study was completed during the 2014/15 school year, when researchers worked with 140 participants from 36 Alberta schools.

Over all, findings suggest teachers and school leaders who are involved in the constant, ongoing practice of inquiry, can influence the development of discipline-based inquiry throughout the school. Dimensions of discipline-based inquiry inform everything from task design to assessment and classroom practices.

For a culture of discipline-based inquiry to flourish, the establishment of a community of learners and networks of support among students, teachers, and between learning leaders and teachers is key. A design-based professional learning community, for example, was found to deepen an inquiry stance, and impact student engagement in learning.

The study did find, however a significant hurdle in establishing a culture of inquiry in Alberta schools: Significant gaps in learning exist and also, misunderstandings of what inquiry-based learning is, and what it really looks like in the classroom.

Focus on Inquiry researchers developed the Focus on Inquiry – Digital Edition resource to uncover and highlight these misconceptions. You can view and download it here.

Check back with this blog as we unpack the Focus on Inquiry study, discover what inquiry-based learning is (and what it is not), and how you can adopt an inquiry stance for your own practice, for your students, and the school community.