What is Inquiry-based Learning and Arts Integration?




I have just finished a residency at a school when a boy comes up to me and says, “I wish you could stay.  I love learning this way…it is so much better then reading and writing about it.”  Often, boys are my most expressive students in drama and movement.  Just like in sports, boys learn through movement and being socially engaged with peers.

  • Drama is empathy. 
  • Drama is collaboration. 
  • Drama is problem-solving. 
  • Drama is communication skills. 
  • Drama is public speaking and presentation skills. 
  • Drama is relationship building. 
  • Drama is flexibility and adaptability. 

These are basic skills often lost in this digital era.  However they are critical in the business world and CEOs in the business world are noticing a lack of these skills in young employees.

For many students, infusing the arts into the curriculum is the heart and soul of who they are and they have an opportunity to express their ideas, thoughts and feelings fully.  Eric Jensen, who integrates neuroscience with classroom practices, says that teachers have control over students states of mind so we must make sure they are engaged and inspired as learners.

“When you do a drama, it causes you to feel; so your brain reacts just the same as if it’s real.” Dr. Sherry Kerr.

Children learn best through inquiry and discovery.  They come into the world this way.  Drama capitalizes on their natural curiosity and problem solving in role allows them to work hard “through play.”  When learning through drama and movement, many areas of the brain light up and students are totally engaged in their learning.  After a drama experience, students are inspired to write and the quality of their writing is remarkable!  For example, they may write advocacy letters to the government persuading them to take down the candy factory in their neighbourhood that is causing so much pollution.  Learning through drama gives students a rehearsal for real life without the real life consequences.  Students are constantly debriefing their learning both in and out of role.

Margaret Boersma consulting supports teachers with active literacy tools and strategies to integrate other content areas authentically.  Students are engaged in their learning and help direct the drama.  The creative process allows students to develop their work just like the creative writing process.  The emphasis is on process but students are often excited about sharing their learning with a presentation they create expressing their thoughts and feelings on a topic.  Creating a presentation flows easily out of the process work.