Inquiry is Core within DP

Inquiry is Core within DP

It is no secret that all three IB programmes (PYP, MYP&DP) are guided by the same six pedagogical principles:  

  • based on inquiry

  • focused on conceptual understanding

  • developed in local and global contexts

  • focused on effective teamwork and collaboration

  • differentiated to meet the needs of all learners

  • informed by assessment (formative and summative)

These principles help IB educators focus on teaching their students how to learn, rather than what to learn. This article will concentrate on the role inquiry plays in the Diploma Programme (DP) at ISNS. 

Inqury-based learning is essential for students to take ownership over their learning. It encourages them to dive deeper into the content studied in class by allowing them to focus in on specific content that they themselves are interested in or curious about.

Gloria Carnevale

Inquiry is essential to becoming a lifelong learner and our students know that being a “Phoenix” means being an Inquirer. Creativity and curiosity, coupled with the development of Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills, allow our DP students to succeed in this demanding programme. Students are faced with large amounts of content in each of their courses yet the use of inquiry in the classroom provides opportunity to think about their own learning and understanding in order to help manage and process that content. Self-directed learning through inquiry is a constant journey of reflection, planning and goal setting. The Internal Assessment (IA), a requirement in all DP courses, is the best evidence for inquiry-based learning. This assessment is an example of problem-based learning. It allows students to display their knowledge in response to a question/exploration of their own choosing and simultaneously hones their ATL skills. Students also utilize inquiry to direct their learning through the DP Core. Our DP Core Coordinator, Kathryn Crossman, explains how inquiry is at the center of Diploma Programme (DP).

I find the ability to inquire extremely essential as it allows me to reflect, understand, and discover the topic on a more thorough level from a more diverse perspective.

Michelle L.

The Core, an integral component of the DP, is composed of Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS), Theory of Knowledge (TOK), and the Extended Essay (EE). Each aspect of the DP Core offers students a chance to be led through structured inquiry, or independently inquire into their own topics or interests. The CAS programme at ISNS invites students to think about their own interests and passions so that they can focus on them outside of the classroom setting that can lead to balanced lives. Learning to balance academics, with a healthy, creative, and caring lifestyle is central to being an IB DP student. Students create an individualized portfolio which highlights their successes, challenges, and memorable experiences as creative and active people who serve their communities. This independent inquiry helps students build their organization and self-management skills while making connections and tuning in to who they would like to be as a global citizen. 

The Theory of Knowledge course consistently challenges students to inquire about how and why they know what they know. Through engaging, inquiry-based activities, students come to understand the major components of TOK, including areas of knowledge, ways of knowing, knowledge questions, knowledge claims, and more. The two formal assessments within TOK, an essay and a presentation, are opportunities for students to investigate, plan, make connections, and demonstrate their understanding as they link knowledge claims and knowledge questions with real life situations.

Finally, the Extend Essay, an independent research essay completed over the course of the DP, allows students to independently go through the inquiry cycle with the support and guidance from their supervisor. The Core supports the students as a collective and as individual inquirers; it provides opportunities for students to be curious researchers with a strong love for learning.

—Contributed by Brian Kelley and Kathryn Crossman