Five Unexpected Benefits of Inquiry-Based Learning

Five unexpected benefits of inquiry-based learning and phenomena-based learning

Five Unexpected Benefits of Inquiry-Based Learning

Hey, y'all! If you're just tuning in, this is a multi-week series about inquiry-based learning in the classroom. (If you're wanting to get caught up, click here.) Honestly, I could talk all day about why you should use inquiry-based learning in the classroom. There are so many obvious benefits like being student-centered, promoting problem-solving skills, etc. But there are also some overlooked benefits as well: 

1. It's actually fun

Inquiry-based learning is fun. I said it. I love teaching using these strategies because the kids take ownership of their learning. I become more of a coach than a direct instructor and the kids get so excited. Even something as simple as finding the main idea of a text can be made into an engaging, hands-on, inquiry lesson. I mean, kids smiling looking for the main idea like little detectives trying to uncover a mystery...What could be better than that?

2. The kids are way more engaged

Because the teacher has stepped aside and let the kids lead in their understanding, the children are now in charge of their learning. That isn't to say that the kids can do whatever they want--they still have things they have to learn. But the responsibility falls on therm. They get SO EXCITED to discover new things. My students have even stopped my principal in the hallway to tell her all they've learned *all by themselves*! (Not really, I did all the planning, setup, gathering resources, etc., but I won't burst their bubbles.)

The best teachers show you were to look but don't tell you what to see

3. You learn things about the kids you wouldn't otherwise know

During an inquiry-based or phenomenon-based learning lesson, I learn so much about my students: who is a natural leader, who has trouble speaking up for themselves, who needs to tone it down a few notches. But also, I learn a ton about their background knowledge. When we studied forests, I learned that one my student's parents is a park ranger. When we learn about holidays around the world, I find out where some of my students' families are from and where they've traveled to. I also find out who's got special talents like drawing, computer skills, higher level vocabularies, and more. I absolutely love this part of inquiry!

4. It's creative

Setting up inquiry-based lessons and phenomenon-based learning units require some creative thinking. Figuring out how to piece things together so that they flow, and getting the most bang for your buck, is a creative outlet for me. And finding ways for students to show their learning without giving them yet another test is an exciting challenge. It has shaken up how I teach and how I run my classroom. Plus, the kids get to be creative when showing what they know and putting all their pieces together. It's a win-win for all of us! 

5. You might find teaching more rewarding

So think about: you're teaching your content in a fun way, the kids are doing the heavy lifting of learning and they're engaged so there are less behaviors, you're learning new things about your students, and you have a creative outlet throughout the day. You go home energized (or at least more so than you would traditionally) and your kids are smiling and excited to come to your classroom. Yeah, that's pretty rewarding for me. It's at least an excuse to try something new. 

If you're not sure where to start on your inquiry journey, may I suggest trying this happiness inquiry unit. It's free and it's helpful for you and your students. There are also TONS of resources on this blog to help you get started and even more to come. Be sure to check in over the next few weeks as I'll be talking about different inquiry-based activities, strategies, questions, examples, and more.

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week. I'll talk to you soon. 

Stay cozy, 

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