Tool IA-1: Characterising an IBL classroom

For this tool you will need the following resources:

  • IA-1 PowerPoint
  • Handout: Characterising an inquiry classroom

The aim of this tool is to start the group thinking about what particular characteristics they would expect todownload_powerpoint see in an IBL classroom. The tool begins with a short discussion activity about how students and teachers behave in an inquiry classroom. Teachers then work in pairs to think about what they would expect to see and write their responses on a handout.

Discuss together the sorts of teacher and student classroom behaviours that might be expected in an IBL classroom.


teamworkAsk the group to work in pairs and give each pair a a copy of the Handout: Characterising an inquiry classroom, on which they should write down their responses to the two questions:

  • What do students do in inquiry classrooms?
  • What do teachers do in inquiry classrooms?

Bring the group back together and ask them to share their responses. They may come up with a range of suggestions, but it is generally agreed that in classrooms that use IBL approaches, the following will be seen. Show them this list and invite them to comment on what these features would look like in a classroom situation.

  • Student led inquiry
  • Tackling unstructured problems
  • Learning concepts through IBL
  • Questioning that promotes reasoning
  • Students working collaboratively
  • Building on what students already know
  • Self and peer assessment

Also encourage the teachers to watch some of the videos of inquiry lessons found here.

A good follow-up tool would be IA-2 Observing an IBL lesson