Teaching and learning at Eastgate Academy will be based on inquiry. This means that students’ curiosity is central to teaching and learning and is intentionally cultivated. Students develop the ability to observe the world around them, ask questions about what they notice, and pursue answers by gathering, evaluating and synthesizing information.
Inquiry-based teaching helps children take a more active role in their learning. Their questions, their research, their experimentation, their analysis and their reflection drive the learning, placing them at the centre of what happens in the classroom.
The teacher has an active role to play too, though one that is different from what you might see in a more traditional classroom. Often described as the guide on the side, rather than the sage on the stage, the teacher creates the conditions for inquiry-based learning to happen. This means creating opportunities for students to notice, wonder, experiment and reflect, while also monitoring the development of their ideas and helping them to correct misconceptions or deepen their understanding. Teachers are also actively involved in developing students’ inquiry skills, by equipping them with strategies for gathering information, evaluating it, organizing it, synthesizing it and reflecting on their findings.
Inquiry-based teaching and learning can take many different forms, depending on the the goals of the inquiry and the nature of the subject. Students at Eastgate Academy will experience a balance of structured, controlled, guided and free inquiry. That range of experience will ensure that they develop the knowledge and skills necessary to take the next steps in their education, while also developing the skills and disposition for life-long, independent learning.
By placing students and their questions at the centre of teaching and learning, inquiry keeps students actively engaged in their learning, making it more relevant and more meaningful. It honours their innate curiosity and empowers them to pursue the interests and goals that matter to them. Ultimately, it helps students to develop a sense of purpose and the confidence to pursue it.