Inquiry-based learning is a hot topic these days. If you are wondering whether you are fostering a true inquiry-based environment, take a look at the chart below. We are the experts. Inquiry is what we do at Great Books, and it’s why students and teachers who participate in Great Books programs are so engaged.

What happens in the inquiry-based classroom?

Examples of student behaviors to look for in an inquiry-based classroom
Classroom Culture
  1. Students develop their own ideas and do not wait for the teacher to give a “right” answer.
  2. Students say what they think and don’t seem concerned about being judged.
  3. Students speak and listen to one another constructively and respectfully.
Critical Thinking Skills
  1. Students develop strong ideas about the meaning of what they read.
  2. Students offer evidence from the text to support their ideas.
  3. Students respond to one another, rather than only to the teacher.
Participation and Engagement
  1. Students participate willingly in the activity.
  2. Students are engaged and interested in the text and activity.
Examples of teacher behaviors to look for in an inquiry-based classroom
Instructional Stance
  1. The teacher establishes an atmosphere of curiosity and sharing ideas.
  2. The teacher avoids signaling “right” answers, instead partnering with students to generate and weigh multiple good answers.
  3. The teacher encourages students to develop and consider divergent answers.
  4. The teacher uses interpretive questions to generate meaningful discussions.
Follow-Up Questions
  1. The teacher asks students to develop their ideas.
  2. The teacher asks students to cite and explain evidence.
  3. The teacher asks students to respond to one another’s ideas.
Tracking Student Participation
  1. The teacher engages less talkative students and monitors more dominant students.

Are your teachers and students engaging in inquiry-based learning? Do you see critical thinking, student engagement, and participation in your classroom? The Great Books Shared Inquiry method of learning and our classroom materials can help activate deeper thinking, attentive listening, thoughtful speaking, and a collaborative culture. We also have a critical thinking rubric and assessment tools to support student learning and implementation in the classroom.

You can learn more about the Great Books Shared Inquiry method of learning, register for a professional development course, or contact your educational consultant to discuss scheduling your own PD or learning more about Great Books programs at any time!