Introduction to Inquiry

As the name implies, a learning trigger is something that triggers learning. Now, learning takes place not only while reading or listening to or watching a trigger, but also when you engage with it later, in your mind. Such learning can (and should) take place when you are taking a walk, travelling on a bus, or having a shower, or even when you are about to fall asleep. Learning can also happen when you discuss the triggers, and your own ideas about them, with others; or in the process of responding to the triggers in the bi-weekly submissions and in the Discussion Forum. How much you learn from them, and how deeply, will depend on the time and mental effort you invest in these activities.
The goal of Learning Trigger 1 (LT1) is to take the first step in developing a feel for what we mean by ‘inquiry’, and by ‘Inquiry-Oriented Education’.

Part 1

LT1-Reading A, ‘Invitation to Rational Inquiry,’ is Chapter 1 of a book for high school students. You will find it here: Introduction to Inquiry: Chapter 1

Read the chapter.

Watch “Inquiry and Integration: Introduction,” a 3-video playlist here:


Reflect on what they say about inquiry and integration. In particular, think about what you have learnt from the reading and videos, and how (if at all) it is different from the kind of learning experience you’ve had in the past.
Discuss your ideas with others you might know in the course, or with whoever is willing to listen and respond.
In engaging with the reading and video, please follow the general instructions spelt out in “Course Structure 1"


Part 2

The Course Outline for IIE-2018 states that, for ‘high quality’ education, curricula need to go beyond (i) and (ii), to aim at (iii) – (vi):
i) an understanding of the concepts and statements of knowledge; and
ii) the ability to apply (i) to a range of familiar (and novel) problems and situations.
iii) an understanding of the evidence and arguments for or against established knowledge as well as controversial concepts and statements;
iv) the ability to think critically about concepts and statements;
v) the ability to engage in independent inquiry; and
vi) the capacity for an integrated perspective on (i)-(v).

Watch Video-2 “What is a Solid?” here:

Read the document on solids and liquids here: LT1-Reading B. Reflect on the following questions:

Of the learning outcomes in (i)-(vi), which ones is the teacher in this video aiming at?
What do you think are the specific mental abilities that the tasks in this video and reading aim to nurture?

The purpose of Part II is to help you develop a feel for Inquiry-Oriented Education (IOE).

IOE is education that focuses the educational goal of helping learners develop the capacity for mathematical, scientific, and humanistic inquiries, going beyond the goal of helping them understand and apply the concepts and propositions of what is currently taken as knowledge.

Inquiry-Based Learning is a means to (teach and) learn: it uses inquiry tasks to help students learn whatever the syllabus wants them to learn.

Some of you are students, and have not had any experience with teaching. Even so, it would be useful to reflect on these questions. As with Part I, you might find it fruitful to discuss your ideas with interested colleagues or friends.

At the end of the week, on June 9, you will receive a brief Quiz. The Quiz is to be completed online by June 11. Further details for submission will be given as part of the Quiz.