Looking at the role of inquiry based learning outlined in each of three disciplines of Geography, History and Science, I was able to directly relate the strengths and weaknesses that I found to my previous discoveries in regards the practicalities of inquiry based practices within a classroom setting. It was interesting to note that although many of my initial discoveries in my information search related to links in the science curriculum, possibly owing to the fact that “science has traditionally been as a leader in the classroom when it comes to inquiry based learning and teaching practices,” (Lupton, 2012), this leadership role may be in fact changing within the Australian Curriculum documents. Elements of the new History and Geography curriculum areas can be directly linked to information literacy standards, and in particular the historical skills mentioned provides classroom teachers with a strong starting point in regards to being able to effectively embed inquiry learning processes within the classroom setting.
While it is clear that there has been an attempt in each of the curriculum areas to embed elements of inquiry based learning, the curriculum documents provide no consistent direction in terms of developing inquiry based learning within a classroom setting. Although science has traditionally been as a leader in the classroom when it comes to inquiry based learning and teaching practices, one significant weaknesses of this new curriculum framework was the limited mention of how information is gathered, a significant information literacy skill. All three curriculum documents also seem to lack a cohesive definition of inquiry learning. This is a significant weaknesses given that as a classroom teacher, it is a lack of understanding of what effective inquiry learning looks like that has in the past hindered my success in being about to provide authentic inquiry learning experiences within my classroom. As part of my information searches this semester I have come to a better understanding of inquiry based approaches to learning. In particular, through this new understanding I can now see that there is no one fixed “method” of doing science, history or geography, there is no fixed sequence that students work through when developing information literacy skills. “Rather, it is an approach in which the posing of real questions is positively encouraged whenever they occur and by whomever they are asked.” (Wells, 1999)
Lupton, Mandy. (2012). Inquiry skills in the Australian Curriculum Access, 26 (2), 12-18.
Wells, Gordon (2001). Action, talk & text: Learning & Teaching Through Inquiry. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Retrieved August 23 from http://www.galileo.org/inquiry-what.html#1