A Pedagogical Framework
What is Environmental Inquiry? Environmental Inquiry* is an overarching approach to Environmental Education* that integrates Inquiry-based Learning*, Experiential Learning*, Integrated Learning*, and Stewardship* into a dynamic and cohesive pedagogical framework.
The full potential of Environmental Inquiry* cannot be attained unless inquiry-based Learning principles are present. For example, a class studying biodiversity may take a field trip to a conservation area in the spirit of Experiential Learning. However, unless the students have the opportunity to thoughtfully reflect on their experience of that trip, to make connections with previously held beliefs or to pose new questions that they will later pursue, then the full potential of Environmental Inquiry is forfeited.
In contrast, when the principles of Inquiry-based Learning are consciously considered, the potential of Experiential Learning, Integrated Learning, and Stewardship is both informed and enhanced. In turn, the latter three branches spark new iterations in Inquiry-based Learning, propelling children's learning deeper into the Environmental Inquiry process.
About this ChapterThis chapter sets forth the pedagogical framework for Environmental Inquiry and is organized into four subchapters, each of which corresponds to one part or branch of Environmental Inquiry (e.g., a subchapter on Experiential Learning). Each subchapter contains two sections, "Theoretical Underpinnings" and "Putting it into Practice," and provides cross-references to teachers' stories (in Part 2 of this resource) to help the reader visualize various aspects of Environmental Inquiry in practice.
* For the purposes of this resource, these terms are used as proper nouns when they refer to an actual instructional approach (i.e., not when they function as adjectives).