Supporting inquiry learning in your school

If your school’s pedagogy includes inquiry-based learning, there are many ways the school library can support that. This blog gives you 3 things you can do right now to support inquiry learning.

Inquiry learning

Every day, teachers use a variety of pedagogical approaches to help students:

  • explore the world around them, and advance their understanding of it
  • ask and answer important questions
  • learn and practice new skills
  • develop the capabilities needed to work with others on projects and topics across the broad spectrum of the curriculum.

Inquiry-based learning (‘inquiry’) is an approach that can encompass all of these. It places students’ questions, observations, and actions at the centre of the learning experience. Inquiry can overlap with other pedagogies and frameworks such as Universal Design for Learning.

Students working on computers in classroomAll rights reserved

3 things you can do

1. Understand inquiry as it’s implemented in your school

Your school may have adopted a particular model of inquiry, either school-wide or subject-specific. Find out more about the inquiry models your teachers use, and look for steps in the cycle where you can work with them and offer to help. You might:

  • contribute to planning
  • provide resources
  • share research tools and techniques with staff and students, or
  • offer your expertise in other ways.

2. Curate and share a range of quality resources to inspire and enrich inquiry

Resources of all kinds play a vital role in inquiry learning. Find out more about the inquiry-based learning happening right now in your school. What resources — including print and digital materials, physical artefacts, (or even people) — can your school library provide to help learners:

  • from different cultures and backgrounds
  • with a range of interests
  • who have specific learning needs
  • at different stages of the inquiry cycle.

We’ve put together guides, tools and other resources to help you:

And it’s not too late to register for our learning event Digital resources to support inquiry learning and research. Places are still available in Oamaru (9 June) and Christchurch (16 June).

3. Request resources through our lending service

Services to Schools’ inquiry loans aim to provide students with a range of relevant books and resources to inspire, enthuse, and inform them through the inquiry process. Inquiry loans are intended to supplement your local inquiry resources.

Requests for inquiry loans for terms 3 and 4 are open now through to 11 August.

Our lending service web pages have more information about:

Secondary schools and composite schools (secondary year levels) can also order individual author/title loans at any time. The online loan request form calls these requests 'individual items'.

Request a loan now

Find out more

School libraries and inquiry learning describes how the school library is uniquely placed to play a key role in supporting inquiry in your school.

By Miriam Tuohy

Miriam is the Senior Specialist (School Library Development) for Services to Schools.

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Lisa June 11th at 8:24AM

Well written Miriam:)