Successful pedagogies for inquiry and knowledge building


How do students build knowledge

On the 2010 Knowledge Building Award Scheme presentation day, Ms Hidy Tse’s Primary 4 students from HKUGA Primary School shared about how they built knowledge collaboratively. Their learning experience is summarized in the table below.

Though the table neatly corresponds to the key pedagogical focuses for KB, it does not mean that the students’ learning process is linear. This presentation is only used to illustrate the student behaviour and experiences that are targeted by teachers at different stages of the knowledge building process.

Key Pedagogical Focus Student Behaviour and Experiences Targeted Illustrative Videos & Presentations
Generate inquiry questions

Identify problems and formulate inquiry questions
  • Students asked a lot of questions about the topic in class.
  • After discussion, they identified questions and ideas that were worthy of discussion on Knowledge Forum.
  • The chosen questions and ideas were posted on KF for discussion.
  • Students carried out preliminary research to gain a deeper understanding of the topic.
  • Students then formulated their individual inquiry questions.
Identify good questions for inquiry

Sharing of inquiry questions
  • Students read questions raised by classmates, the teacher, and others.

Formulate new inquiry questions

  • Students responded to and asked question to clarify each others’s ideas and theories.
  • Students then formulated their own theories and ideas and came up with more inquiry questions.
F2F and online discussion

In-depth understanding and research
  • Students read comments and notes written by the teacher and classmates, which prompted them to conduct in-depth research for a better and deeper understanding of the topic.

Learn how to use authoritative sources to support one’s view


  • How the students built on: The teacher raised a question, then students provided answers. Later, those answers were further questioned, so students needed to gather more information to clarify the issues.
Identify good discussion

Evaluation and good notes
  • Good notes are those that make good use of scaffolds to pinpoint the key ideas learned.
  • Also, good notes are those that contain appropriate use of keywords to highlight important issues or concepts about the topic.

Learning journals
  • Students wrote learning journals by putting all information together and linking ideas and evidence.
  • Students also quoted from good notes and authoritative sources to complete their learning journal.
  • Students then formulated new inquiry questions describing what they want to learn next.