North Melbourne Primary School is enthusiastically committed to improving student learning outcomes and providing teaching approaches that meet the needs of all students; not just in words but in our actions.
How we teach must reflect how our students learn. It must also reflect the world our students will move into. This is a world that is rapidly changing, connected, adapting, and evolving. Our style and approach to teaching must emphasise the learning in the 21st century.
One pedagogical approach to teaching and learning is inquiry learning. An inquiry learning approach encourages students to ask key questions for investigation.
Inquiry learning can take many forms, for example, integrated curriculum, issue/problem-based, action led or negotiated. The inquiry is characterised by students:
- asking questions, building on prior knowledge and making their own discoveries
- finding out information from primary sources to answer generative questions and develop deep conceptual understandings
- making connections between ideas, learning domains, and experiences.
The benefits of using an inquiry approach in each of the programs – (integrated, discipline/subject-based and extended) are significant because this approach:
- considers the connections across learning areas, as well as the way that individual students learn
- allows learning to be more relevant, as concepts are learned in context and relate to existing knowledge
- requires that content is relevant, integrating multiple aspects/concepts simultaneously
- assists in the management of a crowded curriculum as it combines a number of expected outcomes into rich assessment tasks whilst enabling skills to be developed in context and across domains
- provides students with meaningful links between activities, rather than jumping from ‘subject’ to ‘subject’ with little contextual relevance
- supports students to become autonomous learners.
Student interests, needs, and questions inform teachers of the appropriate teaching and learning experiences that are required for particular cohorts of students and are central in the planning process.