Inquiry-Based Instructional Strategies

Our teachers use specific strategies and techniques to help students learn. We use a inquiry-based approach to cause student learning. This approach is rooted in the idea that teachers should not simply cover content but help students construct meaning about powerful and important ideas. Because different kinds of content demand different types of instructional strategies, our teachers use direct instruction, facilitative methods (inquiry-based), and coaching methods to help students develop and deepen their content knowledge and skills, and transfer their learning. The chart below guides our work:

The Teacher
(The Strategy the Teacher Uses)
The Student
(The Processes the Student Uses)
Didactic or Direct Instruction Receive, Take in, Respond
  • Demonstration or Modeling
  • Lecture
  • Independent Study
  • Multimedia Presentation (e.g., PowerPoint)
  • Questioning (convergent)
  • Tag It a 3
  • Observe, attempt, practice, refine
  • Listen, watch, take notes, question
  • Observe, attempt, practice, reflect, refine
  • Observe, take notes, question
  • Answer, give responses
  • Turn question to statement, answer, give support
Facilitative Methods
Construct, Examine, Extend Meaning
  • Concept Attainment
  • Cooperative Learning
  • Discussion
  • Experimental Inquiry
  • Graphic Representation
  • Guided Inquiry
  • Jig Saw
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Questions (Open-Ended)
  • Reciprocal Teaching
  • Simulation (e.g., mock trial)
  • Socratic Seminar
  • String Activity
  • Text Rendering
  • Understanding Notebook
  • Whip Around
  • Word Splash
  • Writing Process (e.g., Collins Writing Model)
  • Compare, induce, define, generalize
  • Collaborate, support others, teach
  • Listen, question, consider, explain
  • Hypothesize, gather data, analyze
  • Visualize, connect, map relationships
  • Question, research, conclude, support
  • Divide content, read and explore, teach
  • Pose/define problems, solve, evaluate
  • Answer and explain, reflect, rethink
  • Clarity, question, predict, teach
  • Examine, consider, challenge, debate
  • Consider, explain, challenge, justify
  • Visualize, connect, map relationships
  • Mark up text, reflect, explain
  • Take meaningful notes, reflect and refine, rethink
  • Think, respond, rethink
  • Consider, connect, share, read, explain
  • Brainstorm, organize, draft, revise
Coaching Methods Refine Skills, Deepen Understanding
  • Conferencing and Document Review
  • Guided Practice
  • Read Aloud
  • Think Aloud
  • Listen, consider, practice, retry, refine
  • Revise, reflect, refine, recycle through
  • Listen, consider, practice, refine
  • Listen, analyze, practice, refine