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Nurturing Inquiry

In Bible times, teachers engaged their students, and fellow students engaged each other and their teachers through inquiry. The Gospel of Luke tells us that at an early age Jesus was “sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers” (Luke 2:46–47).

The practice of asking and answering questions was a common and effective way of learning in ancient Judaism. As a teacher, Jesus often taught His disciples by asking them questions and answering theirs. He also engaged other learners and teachers in a dialogue of asking and answering questions. (For examples see the following: Matt 6:25–28, 16:13, 19:16, 21:40–42, 22:41-44, 24:3; Mark 11:29; Luke 6:39–41, 7:24-26, 8:9, 10:25, 36, 11:1, 11–13, 17:20; John 3:3–4).

Inquiry is an attitude that is to be nurtured within students. Curiosity and questioning keep students engaged in their studies. Inquiry is a skillful attitude that is of importance throughout life.

There are so many things that are worth discovering, experiencing, and exploring. Therefore, inquiry-based learning seeks to engage the student’s personal desire and responsibility for discovering new knowledge and its application to life. In this way, students are encouraged to become self-disciplined and self-directed learners.

Inquiry-based learning from a Christian perspective and within a relational environment has the potential of developing tomorrow’s— and today’s—explorers and reformers. The spirit of inquiry encompasses a thirst to learn that is eager to tackle the present needs in every realm of human existence. For example, the best books are yet to be written; discoveries in science and medicine and sustainable life-enhancing inventions are yet to be seen. As we seek first His Kingdom, He can reveal to His children the application of His Word to all areas of life. There are better ways of governing and of using the earth’s resources. There are creative works in art and music that can exalt the Lord and inspire noble aspirations. In all areas of life, the creativity of God can be explored.

The above material is from my book, The Parent-Teacher: Love and Leading in Learning.

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