Inquiry-based learning, or IBL, is an approach to teaching that can position Meaningful Student Involvement in the center of any topic, in any grade level. The essence of IBL is that it lets students work with a learning challenge until they fully understand it with learning activities and projects driving the process.
In classrooms where IBL is used, learning centers on challenging students to solve problems through problem-posing, experimenting, exploration, creation and communication. Instead of giving students a linear, straight path towards finding answers, IBL allows educators to guide, mentor and facilitate learning through well-designed challenges meant to engage students in identifying the tools or topics they need to learn to solve them.
You know you’re in an IBL classroom when there are:
- Clear, deep and meaningful challenges facing students
- Significant, sustained opportunities for student-to-student collaboration
- Educators co-engaged in the learning process
- Projects underway that address substantive issues
That last bullet point is where Meaningful Student Involvement can be infused tightly with IBL. Focused on real issues in education, IBL can a powerful driver for students to learn through involvement. Ensuring those projects meet real educational challenges ensures the transition from IBL being an average school method towards becoming a meaningful method for learning, teaching and leadership throughout the education system.