The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

Primary Years Programme (PYP) Learner Profile

Inquiry Learning

Scotch College Junior School is a registered member of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, and as such we use a guided-inquiry approach to the learning programme. Inquiry-based units of work, referred to as 'units of inquiry' or 'UOIs', are the focus for learning in all classrooms.

Inquiry may look very different from class to class as both staff and students create unique learning environments through their investigations and specific focus on targeted approaches to learning skills.

Specialist teachers have to work in a less-frequent approach and so generally focus more time on the learning skills than the research component of inquiry. They also target the reflection and action stages of the process within the perspective of their learning areas.

Early years classes (Pre-Kindergarten to Pre-Primary) will also differ vastly from those of an upper primary class. Pre-Kindergarten students may spend time explicitly learning how to ask an open question, whilst a Year 5 classroom may focus on the Thinking Skills, such as Dialectical Thought or Metacognition, to deepen the students' understanding of a particular idea or concept.

Regardless of these variations, you will see in all classes an increased emphasis on real life situations, decision-making, problem solving, research and action.

The majority of our staff work through an inquiry approach which often has six stages as shown below:

Tuning In: Exploring, wondering and questioning
Finding Out: Experimenting and playing with possibilities, Researching and seeking information
Sorting: Collecting data and reporting findings, Clarifying existing ideas and reappraising events
Going Further: Deepening understanding through the application of a concept or rule, Making and testing theories
Reflection: Making predictions and acting purposefully to see what happens
Action: Elaborating on solutions to problems and auctioning these solutions

Mr Warwick Norman
Junior School Dean of Teaching and Learning