Why Inquiry Is Essential For The Future

More than ever, we need education to equip our children to make our world better for all people. It's tough to sift through the educational fads and jargon to find a philosophy that matches this admirable purpose. There's project-based learning, game-based learning, standards-based learning, STEM-based learning, and so on.

But how do we truly instill an international perspective, value for community, and a set of skills to tackle unknown problems? At Soundview, we answer this calling with our commitment to the International Baccalaureate.

The approach is timeless and quite simple: we cultivate curiosity into inquiry and employ the skill of inquiry into an exploration of the disciplines and questions of social justice and sustainability. 

The foundation of the International Baccalaureate experience is what we call the IB Learner Profile - a set of 10 intellectual, social, and emotional characteristics that develop an internationally-minded person. Every day, we coach the development of these characteristics. During the month of February we are particularly focused on "inquiry." 

Here's why inquiry is critical to quality teaching and learning:

  1. Natural curiosity is a child's best learning tool. It can be joyfully cultivated into the intellectual skills of inquiry. 
  2. Learning objectives should be relevant to all people in all places. A good learning objective can be explored at any level, by preschoolers and PhD students alike. 
  3. The most important educational outcome is the ability to identify and solve problems, individually and with others. Learning experiences should be focused on empowering students to solve real problems in their lives and the lives of others. 

Here's how we set up learning environments and experiences to maximize these developmental truths and cultivate inquiry:

Explore concepts that are common to all people.

Explore concepts that are common to all people.

Teach students to ask different kinds of questions with increasing complexity. And shape units around students' own questions and sense of social responsibility.

Teach students to ask different kinds of questions with increasing complexity. And shape units around students' own questions and sense of social responsibility.

Empower student-directed action at the end of each unit in service of our community. Here, kindergartners are designing sustainable homes based on models from around the world.

Empower student-directed action at the end of each unit in service of our community. Here, kindergartners are designing sustainable homes based on models from around the world.

Inquiry is the limitless ability to find joy and fulfillment by asking questions, identifying and solving problems, making connections, finding relevance, and learning for a lifetime.