An Effective Implementation Of Inquiry in The English Classroom


IBL is a popular concept in education but there is almost no information on how to implement it in the classroom. Inquiry-based learning requires students to do research on a topic that is generated through a series of questions. When students are physically involved in the project, it is easier for them to understand the material and develop research skills.

Steps of Inquiry:

The Cycle of Inquiry based learning, IBL steps

Problems and Solutions:

You will be surprised how much students can achieve without your strict guidance. Many English teachers think that inquiry is too hard for their students due to low English level. To solve this problem, you should give enough flexibility and more abstract assignments, use appropriate inquire-based learning material which normally has lesson guides to follow. If you meet all these requirements, the students will be able to pick important information to research.

According to IBL concept, your students should be able to select material that they will understand and like. Teacher, as mediator, must help the students select an appropriate material and understand the content properly. Yet you can’t judge student’s ideas (within reason), but you can judge the amount and quality of work done.

Some teachers believe that inquiry cannot be done at the elementary level.  This is completely not true. Lisa MacLeod from theIBLibrary says:” Per, as of 22 May 2015, there are 1,266 schools offering the PYP Programme alone, in 106 different countries worldwide and more are in the “accreditation process” to be come an IB World School.  All of which speak different “Mother” languages and also teach additional languages as part of the Programme.  It starts as early as Kindergarten and goes through High school and beyond. When teachers plan learning experiences that enable students to develop language within meaningful and enjoyable contexts, students are able to make connections, apply their learning, and transfer their conceptual understanding to new situations.”

Inquiry-Based Project Examples:

Lisa MacLeod  kindly provided us with “An Inquiry Based Teacher’s Guide for the Primary Years Learner”. Below you will find excerpt from the guide:


FREE Flipbook Link:

Provocation Activities or Suggestions:

  1. Put blind folds for half of the class on the table and ask the students to wear these for a period of time. Discuss their experiences.
  2. Put posters of people’s emotions in the classroom.
  3. Put models of eyes, ears, nose, mouth, etc. around the classroom for students to discover.
  4. Put one big white sheet and different colors paint on the floor. Let the students create a group art work using their hands and/or feet.

Key words/ Terms- post  vocabulary around the room that is important for your students to know  regarding this book and this Theme/Unit of Inquiry.  Let them read it, see it and wonder:

  1. Senses- there are 5 senses… touch , taste, sight, smell and hear. A specialized function or mechanism of the body that involves the action and effect of a stimulus on a sense organ.
  2. Emotion- how you feel. A mental reaction marked by strong feeling and usually causing physical effects.
  3. Creativity- Showing or requiring imagination.

Transdisciplinary Learning Experiences and Activities:

  1. Suggestions and ideas based Transdisciplinary subject areas (math, language, science, social studies, technology, the arts, physical education and library)  and  Transdisciplinary skills (Thinking, Communication, Social, Research, Self‐Management) in connection with the ideas of this book.
  2. 5 Senses Workshop. Divide the class into 5 groups. Each group is in charge to set up a science discovery station about one of the 5 senses. The students organize this 5 senses workshop for other classes.
  3. Create a cooking activity using the 5 senses in practice.

The guide has lots of activities that you can use in the English classroom. Encourage students to read the book above and complete the “Student Activities” in the Student Inquiry Guide,  either in class or at home.  Have them come back and share their ideas with the class.  Plan your lessons around their questions and ideas. You can get this guide for FREE here.


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