David Truss on Inquiry Based Learning
“Wisdom begins with wonder.”
A group of educators turned the tables and placed interest before the subject matter. They called it “inquiry-based learning.”
Why? Students learn best when they have interest in the subject matter.
School of Choice
David Truss is an educator based in Vancouver, Canada. He is currently working two posts – Vice Principal of Coquitlam Open Learning, an online school which offers 2,225 courses every year; and Vice Principal and Lead Administrator of Inquiry Hub Secondary School, which offers inquiry-based learning program for students in Grades 9-12. I had the privilege of being acquainted during our interview about Inquiry Hub.
Inquiry Hub exposes students to a blended learning environment. Students still attend school during During the “no teacher” time, students are allowed to do three things: they can work on their assignments, which are mostly discussion-based; they can accomplish the online activities which are part of their subjects; or they can work on their elective programs.
David describes Inquiry Hub as “The School of Choice” because each student is encouraged to pursue his passion, spend time improving it, and take credit for it. Students still come during school days but they spend 30 to 50 percent of their day without a teacher in front of them, which is a unique characteristic of Inquiry Hub’s program.
Inquiry Hub exposes students to a blended learning environment. During the “no teacher” time, students are allowed to do three things: they can work on their assignments, which are mostly discussion-based; they can accomplish the online activities which are part of their subjects; or they can work on their elective programs.
Learning without Boundaries
Inquiry Hub developed two electives to induce the students’ intrinsic enthusiasm to learn. These are the Foundations of Inquiry and Digital Literacy, which are both competency-based courses, encouraging students to complete projects efficiently. This approach allows students to learn and be competent without the boundaries of specific subjects. They can choose to explore any topic or skill that they want.
After completing a number of inquiries, Grade 11 and 12 students level up and conduct Independent Directed Study (IDS). In one IDS, their students developed an app that monitors school attendance. To date, the app is in beta testing and will be used by the Inquiry Hub for their operations next year.
Designing Good Questions
David encourages inquiry-based learning to other educators. They may not adopt the exact system of Inquiry Hub, but they can simply set an amount of time in school wherein students can work passionately on a project of value. David stressed that inquiry-based learning is not just letting students do what they want. It aims to encourage students to conduct inquiries on topics that are not simply answered through Google search. He notes that educators still guide their students to design good questions and find the answers by digging deep into resources.
Inquiry Hub revolutionizes learning in such a way that children’s interests are listened to not just by his peers but also by his educators. By this way, students easily find their place in the world, and become competent to turn their passions into something that will help themselves as well as their communities.
Helpful Links and Resources Related to this Interview:
Contact Dave: pairadimes.davidtruss.com/contact/
David’s blog on education, technology, and learning: http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com
David’s personal blog: http://davidtruss.com
David’s Twitter handle: @datruss
Inquiry Hub’s website: http://www.inquiryhub.org/
Inquiry Hub’s community blog: http://hubblog.inquiryhub.org/