In the last blog, the focus was on the use of BIG questions to drive teaching/learning units in an inquiry-based learning (IBL) classroom. BIG Qs and sub-Qs are the lead stars in my IBL 5.

If you want your classroom to…

  • be more about student learning rather than what you do as the teacher
  • support learners to engage actively in meaning making
  • nurture more independent, critical and creative thinkers
  • foster life-long learning

…you might find The IBL 5 helpful. Here they are…

IBL #1: Productive or generative BIG questions in an IBL classroom are those that are:
—conceptual i.e. beyond descriptive elements, such as wind turbines and coal stations to ‘analytical concepts’, such as global warming
—connected i.e. related to the world and to students’ lives (see examples in previous blog).

Source of TELSTAR: Queensland Department of Education (1994) and Victorian Ministry of Education (1987).

IBL #2: Models of inquiry are used in an IBL unit design to scope and sequence learning and teaching, such as:

TELSTAR, which involves the phases:

T une in
E xplore
L ook
S ort through
T est
A ct
R eflect

See learning ajency resource: Inquiry-based learning for a guide indicating what teaching/learning activities are included in each of the phases.

Source of TELSTAR: Queensland Department of Education (1994) and Victorian Ministry of Education (1987).

IBL #3: Thinking skills taxonomies
e.g. ‘three-storey intellect’: ‘gathering’, ‘processing’ and ‘applying’ (Bellanca & Fogarty, 1991).

See learning ajency resource: Critical and creative thinking through thinking skills taxonomies.

Source of TELSTAR: Queensland Department of Education (1994) and Victorian Ministry of Education (1987).

IBL #4: Questioning frameworks
e.g. ‘Socratic questioning’: ‘assumption probes’, ‘clarification questions’, ‘reason and evidence probes’ and so on (Paul, 1995).

See learning ajency resource: Critical and creative thinking through questioning frameworks.

Source of TELSTAR: Queensland Department of Education (1994) and Victorian Ministry of Education (1987).

IBL #5: Inquiry-based learning strategies are those which involve learners in active meaning making for themselves (in contrast to a ‘teaching as telling’ approach). Digital pedagogies are really important, of course, in 21 century classrooms.

Source of TELSTAR: Queensland Department of Education (1994) and Victorian Ministry of Education (1987).

Here are a couple of IBL strategies associated with each TELSTAR phase. You’ll recognise some…others you may not as I make up a name with a new strategy. I recommend you do the same! Share the names with your learners so that they can talk about the strategies that help (or don’t help) them to learn. It also helps you to design units collaboratively with your colleagues when you name your teaching strategies.

Remember that particular strategies can be used in other phases. Contact me if you’d like to know more about any of the strategies.

TELSTAR phases and IBL strategies

T une in Graffiti page/wall
Hot seat
My perfect match
Mystery box
E xplore Silent QuAK (Brainstorming using a ‘silent conversation': questions, attitude and knowledge in response to topic)
Take a stand and justify
L ook Learning from stimulus material
CoRTing our guest
Finding our voices
S ort Retrieval chart
Themes from wordle
Diamond ranking
Cause and effect wheels
T est Walk and talk
Self-assessment
Self- and peer assessment
A ct Postcard for action
R eflect Sentence strips
PMI
Take a SWOT
So what?

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