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What's Your Why?

This lesson discusses the benefits that engaging in inquiry can bring to a school community. In "I Made It Easier and They Still Didn't Learn" and "Inquiry: Inquiring Minds Want to Know," Mary Boyd Ratzer and Barbara K. Stripling share some of the positive outcomes they've seen blossom using inquiry. Read the articles and then consider the benefits that inquiry can bring to your school community, using the Reflect & Practice activity.



Think about the curriculum currently taught in your school—yours and your colleagues'. In what places would students benefit from increased motivation and ownership, more cooperative learning, and/or a greater focus on higher order thinking skills?

Once you've identified those areas, use the above form to write an "elevator pitch" that you can use to present to collaborating teachers or to your administration to advocate for a more inquiry-based approach for that particular section of the curriculum. Use the reasoning from the video lesson as well as the articles to help you craft your argument.

About the Authors


Seth Taylor, MFA, has 20 years of experience in higher education as a teacher, administrator and professional development specialist. He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in Rhetoric, Composition and Research Methodology San Diego State University, Colorado State University, and the University of Redlands.

Jane Cullina, MSEd, is a professional development specialist for School Library Connection. A former children's librarian and humanities teacher, Jane earned her master's degree from the Bank Street College of Education in New York City and has taught in Boston, New York, Maine, California, and South Africa.

Rebecca J. Morris, MLIS, PhD, earned her master's degree and doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh and her undergraduate degree in elementary education at Pennsylvania State University. Rebecca teaches graduate courses in school librarianship and youth library services. Rebecca has published articles in journals including School Library Research, Knowledge Quest, School Libraries Worldwide, Teacher Librarian and the Journal of Research on Young Adults in Libraries. She is the author of School Libraries and Student Learning: A Guide for School Leaders (Harvard Education Publishing Group, 2015). Rebecca is a former elementary classroom teacher and middle school librarian.


Twitter: @rebeccajm87.

Sharon Coatney is a former library media specialist from Kansas. She is a past president of the AASL and Councilor at Large of the American Library Association. She is now the Senior Acquisitions Editor for Education and School Library Products at Libraries Unlimited/Teacher Ideas Press.

Select Citation Style:
"Inquiry-Based Learning: What's Your Why?" School Library Connection, July 2019,
"Inquiry-Based Learning: What's Your Why?" School Library Connection, July 2019.
Inquiry-based learning: What's your why? School Library Connection. Retrieved from

Entry ID: 2214587