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

Primary Years Programme (PYP)Learner Profile

Inquiry Learning

As a member of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, Scotch College Junior School teaches through guided inquiry approach. 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 though their investigations and specific focus on targeted approaches to learning skills (ATLs). Specialist teachers generally focus more time on the learning skills than the research component of inquiry and they also target the reflection and action stages of the process from the perspective of their learning area. Early years classes (Pre-Kindergarten to Pre-Primary) also differ to the middle and upper primary classes as their level of required support is higher, so ownership and direction of the process is predominantly teacher driven. There are also designated daily literacy and numeracy lessons throughout the Junior School, which focus on specific skills and knowledge students require outside of the units of inquiry. It is considered crucial that students attain these discrete skills in order to ensure full engagement in the higher order thinking skills and concept development found in the units of inquiry.

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

Our staff work through an inquiry approach which 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 actioning these solutions

Mr Warwick Norman
Junior School Dean of Teaching & Learning