6. How do I Find Time for Inquiry-Based Instruction?
Inquiry-based learning involves a different use of time instead of requiring more time. By planning across Overall Expectations and/or Big Ideas rather than Specific Expectations, inquiry can actually allow for greater curriculum coverage, but it will look very different.
The issue for many teachers is the time constraints they feel they are placed under to cover (uncover) a great number of concepts within a provided instructional time. The challenge lies in finding and scheduling longer classes to do engaging and extended inquiries. In elementary grades, this can be addressed through interdisciplinary instruction extended throughout the day or through block scheduling. In secondary grades, investigations can be pursued over multiple periods. Teachers need to be effective and efficient with their time in order to have enough time for inquiry-based instruction.
Teachers need to teach inquiry explicitly and allow time for practice and improvement of inquiry process skills. Furthermore, developing critical thinking skills and engaging students in asking questions, planning solutions, and gathering and analyzing information are skills that require time to nurture.