The level of teacher direction in inquiry learning varies for a range of reasons.

As Kath Murdoch observes, the mix of teacher and student direction is dependent on complex and constantly evolving decisions.

How does inquiry change depending on the level of teacher direction?
What capacities do students need in order to move towards open inquiry?
What level of teacher direction are you as a professional educator comfortable with? Are you prepared to ‘let go’ of the control of the learning?

In your design for Assignment 2, you will need to address the following questions:

  • Who decides the inquiry topic/s?
  • Who decides inquiry question/s?
  • Who decides how students search for information/gather data?
  • Who decides how students evaluate information and sources?
  • Who decides how students evaluate their inquiry process/methodology?
  • Who decides on how the findings of the inquiry are communicated/presented?
  • Who decides on the audience for the inquiry? (teacher, other students, school, parents, client/employer, community, politicians, the world)


The following information will help you to assess the level of inquiry in your unit for Assignment 2 and inform future inquiry planning.

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References and Resources

Bell, R., Smetana, L., & Binns, I. (2005). Simplifying inquiry instructionThe Science Teacher, 72(7), 30-33. [QUT login]

Brew, A. (2013). Understanding the scope of undergraduate research: A framework for curricular and pedagogical decision-making. Higher Education, 66(5), 603-618.

Martin-Hansen, L. (2002). Defining inquiry: Exploring the many types of inquiry in the science classroomThe Science Teacher, 69(2), 34-37. [QUT login]

National Research Council. (2000). Inquiry and the National Science Education Standards. A Guide for Teaching and Learning. Washington: Centre for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education.

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