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culturesInquiry for All

As you explore the possibilities, keep in mind that inquiry is for all students and teachers across content areas.

eye means readRead Thematic Instruction from NETC.

Curriculum Development and Inquiry

In books like Schools that Learn, Howard Gardner stresses the importance of discipline-based learning. He notes that investigation of the key issues of humankind can be explored with increasing complexity as students spiral through the curriculum. Each content area provides a unique opportunity to explore essential questions about universe topics such as good, evil, love, and hate. According to Gardner, K-12 education helps young people become comfortable with the "intellectual core" and allows them to explore ideas from multiple perspectives.

According to Barbara Stripling in Curriculum Connections through the Library (2003, p. 20), "although Gardner recognizes that the questions that students ask often go beyond discipline boundaries, he presents a strong case that students need to use discipline-specific ways of thinking to discover in-depth answers to their questions and make sense of the world. Answers to scientific or mathematical questions need to be based on truth about the natural world, derived from scientific theories and evidence. Scientific answers, though, are essentially different from historical conclusions. Investigation in history are based on interpretation and point of view, and they involve human motives and conditions. The social-science perspective leads to judgments about right and wrong, cause and effect, problem and solution, based on analysis of the evidence and recognition of the human context for every situation. The arts perspective uses imagination, thoughts and feeling to communicate about the experience of beauty."

In 1975, the Ontario Ministry of Education developed a set of guidelines for developing curriculum. They included the following questions (Brown, 1991):

All Learners

Also, consider the wide range of learners in a school including both special needs and gifted inquirers.

eye means readRead The Forgotten Partners in Special Education: Teacher-Librarians in Teacher Librarian (April 2010, Volume 37, Issue 4, p. 65-69). (IUPUI password required for access)

eye means readRead Gifted Readers and Libraries: A Natural Fit in Teacher Librarian (February 2010, Volume 37, Issue 3, p. 32-36). (IUPUI password required for access)

According to Barbara Stripling (2003, p. 21), "curriculum in an inquiry-based classroom, then, is based on essential ideas and ways of thinking in different content areas. Curriculum is 'uncovered' rather than 'covered' as students ask questions and actively investigate the answers. Although the key content ideas remain as a stable framework for each disciplne, the path to those ideas is constructed by each learner and guided by the teacher."

We often focus our efforts on the curriculum areas where we feel most comfortable, but it's important to think about inquiry across the curriculum. According to Barbara Stripling (2003, p. 21), "if teachers and librarians plan to integrate inquiry throughout the curriculum, then some thought must be given to the ways inquiry differes in the different discipline areas."

eye means readRead The Role of a School Library in a School's Reading Program by Elizabeth Marcoux and David Loertscher in Teacher Librarian, October 2009, Volume 37, Issue 1, p 8-14.

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