Inquiry Learning in Primary Classroom: The Project Approach
On inquiry learning, Ellis (2002) argues that it is an ancient one, dating back to Aristotle who emphasized it is in doing that we learn best, and John Dewey's idea of learning by doing. According to Eggen and Kauchak (1998), inquiry can be viewed as a process for answering questions and solving problems based on facts and observations. At the classroom level, inquiry is a teaching strategy designed to teach students how to deal with questions and problems encountered in various content areas. In Hong Kong, Project learning has been highlighted as one of the four Key Tasks in the "Learning to Learn" curriculum reform introduced by the Curriculum Development Council (2001). Project approach is a powerful learning and teaching strategy to help students learn how to learn by acquiring and constructing knowledge, and developing various important generic skills through a variety of learning experiences. Students need to be given appropriate guidance and feedback by teachers while and after the learning process. As a consequence, Project approach can be regarded as a strategy of inquiry in local context. This study reviews the literature and discusses the merits and strengths of adopting inquiry learning in teaching General Studies in Hong Kong primary school curriculum. In 2004, a Primary Four General Studies lesson was selected and observed in depth focusing on students' inquiry learning by means of project approach. A post-lesson interview of the teacher concerned was conducted regarding the theoretical framework, lesson objectives, teaching strategies and procedures, and post-lesson analysis. Findings and experience sharing for the improvement of practice on inquiry learning by project approach are discussed in this study.
Keywords: Inquiry Learning, Project Approach
Dr. Wai Lun Anthony Leung
Lecturer, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, The Hong Kong Institute of Education