Using question-based inquiry learning strategies to motivate gifted readers





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Gifted students in modern American schools often find a corrosive mismatch between their needs and curricular offerings. Their teachers mean well, but struggle to balance dozens of standards, pressure for near-universal proficiency on state tests, intervention work for struggling students, and a litany of other obligations. As a result, the spark of student engagement has often fizzled, especially in gifted student populations. In this study, question-based inquiry learning is explored in order to help teachers nurture a classroom that pulses with a sense of wonder and discovery. The study explores the essential components of inquiry learning and the advanced learners who can benefit most from this method of learning. Upper elementary students in the study participated in a four-week inquiry-learning unit in a gifted and talented class. They used three question-based inquiry techniques, the effects of which are documented qualitatively and quantitatively. The results indicated high student engagement in inquiry learning activities, with students reporting increases in motivation and self-confidence after participating. From this action research, educators can identify ways to begin inquiry learning investigations within the classroom.

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