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What is Enquiry Based Teaching and Learning

Updated: Sep 20

By Shannon de Winnaar, Principal of Razum International School

Enquiry based education is a student-centred approach to teaching and learning. The activities the students do are hands on and collaborative. This style of teaching and learning has a focus on questions, ideas and observations, leading to comprehension and application of content. The teacher is facilitating the child’s learning as opposed to the teacher delivering content for the children to repeat or memorise.


We retain 75% of what we do compared to 5% of what we hear

and 10% of what we read.


Enquiry based teaching and learning is designed to give children opportunities to collaborate with other children to build stronger relationships, improve their ability to effectively

communicate, work on their conflict resolution skills and build their leadership capabilities.


At Razum we use enquiry based teaching and learning in our delivery of English and Math. We then use International Primary Curriculum (IPC) to teach topics that cover Science, History, Geography, Technology, Music, Arts, Society and International.



An example of an enquiry based English narrative writing lesson could look something like this; we would start by putting the children in groups and giving them a narrative that is cut up into different parts. The teacher would ask the children questions like:

  • Can you put the story in the right order?

  • Why do you think that part goes there?

  • Why do you think that part goes at the beginning/middle/end of the story? What key words do you see which tell you this?

  • Can you break the text up into the beginning, middle and end?

  • Can you underline the characters/setting?

  • Which character is the main character and how do you know?

  • Can you find the problem/solution and how do you know?

  • Can you find good sentence starters?

Can you see how this style of teaching and learning is hands on and collaborative, has a focus on questions and ideas rather than the teacher reading a narrative and then telling children the beginning, middle, end, characters, setting, problem and solution? You are giving the children an opportunity to look deep into the text by breaking it down, moving parts around, focusing on sections and key words and really comprehending the parts of a Narrative.



Many international school use inquiry/enquiry based teaching and learning they do this because many children in international schools move around to different countries, different curriculum, different academic years, and it is important for children to have the skills to learn, skills such as research, questioning, collaboration, reflection etc. Children have the opportunity to practice and perfect these skills by enquiry based activities. If children learn how to learn they will find it easier to adjust to academic changes in their lives.


Find out more about Razum International School by booking a tour here.

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