At St Joseph’s we take and Inquiry approach to learning in the area of the Humanities. There is an age old adage: ‘Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.’ This last phrase- ‘show me and I understand’ – is the essence of Inquiry Learning. Memorizing facts is not the most important skill to have in today’s word. What people need today is an understanding of how to get data and make sense of it.
At St Joseph’s we understand that schools need to go beyond information and move toward the generation of useful and applicable knowledge, which is a process supported by Inquiry Learning. In the past, our country’s success depended on our supply of natural resources, in the future our prosperity will depend on our ability to work smarter.
Educators must understand that schools need to go beyond data and information accumulation and move toward the generation of useful and applicable knowledge . . . a process supported by inquiry learning. In the past, our country's success depended on our supply of natural resources. Today, it depends upon a workforce that "works smarter."
Through the process of inquiry, individuals construct much of their understanding of the natural and human-designed worlds. Inquiry implies a "need or want to know" premise. Inquiry is not so much seeking the right answer -- because often there is none -- but rather seeking appropriate resolutions to questions and issues. For educators, inquiry implies emphasis on the development of inquiry skills and the nurturing of inquiring attitudes or habits of mind that will enable individuals to continue the quest for knowledge throughout life.
Content of disciplines is very important, but as a means to an end, not as an end in itself. The knowledge base for disciplines is constantly expanding and changing. No one can ever learn everything, but everyone can better develop their skills and nurture the inquiring attitudes necessary to continue the generation and examination of knowledge throughout their lives. For modern education, the skills and the ability to continue learning should be the most important outcomes.
An important outcome of inquiry should be useful knowledge about the natural and human-designed worlds. How are these worlds organized? How do they change? How do they interrelate? And how do we communicate about, within, and across these worlds? These broad concepts contain important issues and questions that individuals will face throughout their lives. Also, these concepts can help organize the content of the school curriculum to provide a relevant and cumulative framework for effective learning. An appropriate education should provide individuals with different ways of viewing the world, communicating about it, and successfully coping with the questions and issues of daily living.
Well-designed inquiry-learning activities and interactions are set in a conceptual context so as to help students accumulate knowledge as they progress from grade to grade.
Inquiry education at St Joseph’s is about assisting our students in developing a greater understanding of the world in which they live, learn, communicate, and work.