In 2013 our priority of the ‘Thinking Classroom’ moved to Inquiry Learning through History and focuses on nurturing our students’ thinking skills while simultaneously engaging them through a variety of learning styles.
Although Inquiry Learning through History is a specialist subject, to develop a thinking culture within the school requires a whole school approach to explicit teaching of thinking skills to all learners, thus the basis of Inquiry Learning is logically a totally integrated inquiry approach.
Thinking skills empower the learner with strategies to engage in analytical, creative and critical thinking and to apply these skills in everyday life. Engagement, depth and rigour are essential characteristics of a curriculum that will motivate and interest students. This means challenging, meaningful and relevant activities that make the classroom an active centre of learning (Ralph Pirozzo, 2007).
The goal at Rosalie is to develop a thinking culture which encourages children to become autonomous life-long learners.
The Thinking Classroom
Our students learning will be underpinned by Intentional, Investigative and Inquiry Learning, embedding the Thinking Classroom’s cognitive and collaborative thinking strategies in everyday classroom practice, with interclass collaboration.
Our Thinking Classroom focus has progressed from a basic introduction to the development of Higher Order Thinking Tools and Strategies through to expanding our use of Bloom, Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences and Cooperative Learning to their application within the context of Inquiry Learning.
The Inquiry Learning model takes advantage of students’ natural curiosity. It requires well-developed questioning skills. It helps students to develop strategies and processes for collecting and evaluating information (information literacy).
Students immerse themselves in the topic, context, or situation they are studying. They investigate the location, historical background, current situation, and problems. They become mini-experts on the topic (Knowledge Attack) before beginning the inquiry process (Inquiry Learning Model).
In this inquiry process students form a question that becomes the focus of their investigation. They form subsidiary questions, form hypotheses, plan and carry out their research, come to some conclusions, and decide how they could make change happen. They should also be allowed the opportunity to develop their research/higher order thinking skills through further investigation.
The Stages of Rosalie’s Inquiry Learning are:
1) Switch on & Think
2) Search & Find
3) Sift & Sort
4) Draft & Design *) Going Further
5) Create & Share
6) Reflect & Act