The goal of incorporating IBL into social studies classroom practice is to give students more ownership of their learning of specific disciplines (i.e., geography, history, civics, and economics) and create challenging learning environments that encourage development of higher order thinking and social learning. To do this requires more student doing and less teacher teaching. Only the teacher can know the best combination of strategies to use when trying IBL in his/her classroom. Through reflection and assessing the effectiveness of IBL lessons, the teacher can improve upon what was done and provide learning experiences in the future that are rich, engaging, and meaningful for students.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Education has taken steps to incorporate inquiry into the social studies curriculum of this province. Students in the early grades are introduced to IBL at relatively simplistic levels and build upon these skills and abilities as they progress through the K-12 system. At present, and from my own teaching experience, the high school courses with the greatest use of inquiry written directly into curriculum guides, are Canadian Geography 1202, Canadian History 1201, and Newfoundland and Labrador Studies 2205. Small steps, but hopefully further revision to the social studies curriculum will expand the use of IBL in the future.
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