Episode 47 Inquiry Based Learning with Trevor MacKenzie

In this episode of the Effective Teaching Podcast, Dan interviews Trevor MacKenzie author of “Dive into Inquiry” and “Inquiry Mindset“. Throughout this interview Trevor explains the difference between inquiry-based learning (IBL) and Project-based learning and why we should consider using the inquiry model to instill lifelong learning in our students. He discusses the need for an inquiry mindset and throughout the interview Trevor explains how he implements IBL in his classroom. You will also learn some of the mistakes teachers make when implementing IBL and how you can avoid these to help students become successful in the inquiry process. This episode provides practical tips to help you begin to implement IBL in your classroom.

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 Inquiry Based Learning with Trevor MacKenzie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Show notes

What is inquiry-based learning?

Inquiry-based learning (IBL) is a teaching and learning approach that puts the process of learning front and centre and utilises questions to drive learning. Within this approach the teacher shifts to a facilitator of learning or a learning coach.

Why would a teacher use inquiry-based learning?

IBL focuses on the process of learning and so a teacher would use this approach if they valued the process of learning along with the content that is learnt. Using IBL helps to develop student as lifelong learners because it is the learning process that is taught, fostered and developed, as well as the learning of the content.

How do you implement inquiry-based learning in your classroom?

Trevor trains his students using the Understanding By Design template. He co-creates the learning with the students and progresses them from teacher driving inquiry to free inquiry with multiple steps in-between.

How can inquiry-based learning go wrong?

Often the mistakes come from teachers not having a clear definition of what IBL is or by jumping to free inquiry too quickly, which results in messy, un-focused learning.

Where should a teacher start with inquiry-based learning?

  1. Start by heading over to Trevor’s Website and looking through the resources.
  2. Start using questions to drive learning and see them as central to the learning process.
  3. Model, scaffold and guide the students through the inquiry process.


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