Guided Inquiry: What Is It,
Why Now, What’s New?
Guided Inquiry really changed the pedagogy at my school—the way people taught
and students learned, and how we collaborated.
—school principal
The challenge facing today’s educators is to prepare students for learning, living, and
thriving in the dynamic, cluttered, and chaotic information environment of the contemporary
world. At the core of what it means to be educated today is knowing how to learn from a vari-
ety of sources of information. Those of us working with children and youth are well aware of
the impact the digital information environment has had on their lives. They need to be able to
think, learn, and create and be able to search, evaluate, and use information for thinking, learn-
ing, and creating. Schools must give them opportunities to practice this daily in every subject
of the curriculum. They need to see the connection between what they are learning in school
and the world outside of school that motivates and inspires them to do their best. The current
world requires research competency and subject knowledge in the context of fostering coop-
erative learning, reading comprehension, language development, and social skills.
As you begin this book, think about the ways your school is preparing students for
successful living and working in the contemporary world and beyond. Are you preparing
students to meet the demands for high levels of literacy in the technological workplace?
Will your students be ready to think for themselves, make good decisions, develop expertise,
and learn throughout their lives in the complex information society? These are fundamental
challenges for educators around the world. Basic to meeting these challenges is finding ways
to develop student competence for deep learning from a vast array of sources of informa-
tion and for finding meaning in information-laden digital environments. Many teachers are
turning to inquiry in subjects across the curriculum to meet the challenge of educating their
students for an information laden society. Inquiry that is designed and guided by a Learning
Team to enable students to gain deep personal meaning through a wide range of resources is
called Guided Inquiry.
Guided Inquiry—What Is It?
Guided Inquiry is a way of teaching and learning that changes the culture of a school into
that of a collaborative Inquiry Community. It is designed and guided by a Learning Team that
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