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Community of Inquiry Model in a Primary School Setting

  • 13 Pages
  • Published On: 18-12-2023

The Community of Inquiry which is also abbreviated a CoI, is specifically a model or a concept that is first introduced by two of the early pragmatist philosophers named C.S. Peirce (1903) and John Dewey (1907). The concept here will focus on exploring the principles of the Community of Inquiry & a specific primary school setting has been chosen ACS Hillingdon, located at West London to discuss that how those principles were applied. The essay here will highlight the strengths and challenges of the Community of Inquiry in the context of primary educational settings. This assignment will also describe the detailed procedure of application of the Community of Inquiry model concept in the primary educational setups to ease the education system for both teachers and students.

Discussion on the application of Community of Inquiry in the Primary Education settings

Community of Inquiry (CoI) is a framework of primary educational setting which describes that how the learning process can take place for a group of students or individual learners through the educational concept experiences of learning and teaching processes in primary education environments. Dempsey (2017) stated that it is perhaps the best possible known and also most researched educational approach which is basically designed for the acquiring the learning experiences in context with the primary educational environment. This educational learning approach represents the procedure of creating a meaningful and deep core which can be termed a collaborative & constructive learning experience with the help of many inter-dependent elements of the primary education system like curriculum, contact sessions, resources, laboratory experiences, online interactions and teaching presence (Pang et al. 2018).


The application of the community of inquiry in context with the primary education settings is applied depending upon the core principles that are discussed here. The principles are enlisted below:

    The most significant principle is to apply the character playing among the students where they will play roles to get a close connection and understanding of the topic on which they are studying. This is done by the respective teachers to encourage their own built thoughtful reflection of presentation of anything. Dado and Bodemer (2017) suggested that these types of activities will give deep core illustrations about many points and topics for a clear knowledge.

    In the community of inquiry approach, one more principle says to conduct frequent discussion sessions, feedback sessions and class tests so that the students can also get time and opportunity to clearly understand what was left during classroom studies. This clarifies their learning concept more deeply and establishes a clear communication with the teachers and other fellow students.

    Another principle says that, there needs to be furnished previous completed examples and other study material such as audio, video and writing contents for realistic and better understanding of the class lessons.

    According to Cooper and Scriven (2017), the community of inquiry also says that the teachers are responsible for making the students able to create a time table for their learning and giving separate time to each student for solving their questions and queries.

    The principles also includes that the teachers should design the study courses in such a way that the students can have the chance to assess their control, flexibility & choices (, 2018).

The application of CoI in educational settings is a common phenomenon and to establish this fact an example is presented through the ACS Hillingdon of West London teaching services where this community of inquiry has been applied to make the learning experience better for the students. In ACS Hillingdon educational setting, the use of community of inquiry brought numerous fruitful changes which included teaching the learners without any biasness and irrespective of their race, age, and ethnicity. The ACS Hillingdon school educational setting promotes equality in the teaching rights of people according to the principles of the community of inquiry. Dempsey (2017) stated they chose to give teaching lessons that are based on the study materials provided to the students of the past examples. Seal and Frost (2014) stated that in this primary education setting, they follow the principle of communicating with the students to understand that where they are getting difficulty in understanding and solves their queries. The study time table was fixed according to the appropriate time and the teachers were flexible with the teaching procedure with being active whenever necessary.

Many researchers have also utilised the CoI approach to present survey papers such as Kozan and Caskurlu explored many research surveys through the CoI model framework.

Strengths of the Community of Inquiry in the Primary Education settings

The community of inquiry is beneficial in every ways in a primary educational setting where the students’ need deeper & core understanding can be developed through many ways which the community of inquiry approach suggests. Some major strengths or advantages of the community of inquiry in context with the primary educational settings can be entitled as –

Cultivating skills of all learning areas – In educational field, cultivating the skills of both the students and teachers from all the aspects of the whole teaching-learning process is the most critical task to perform. With the evidences of successful results of usage of CoI techniques in primary school learning settings, it can be confirmed that CoI cultivates all areas of learning process with an effective and meaningful teaching-learning environment in higher education also. Seal and Frost (2014) advised that this approach, if used on a continual basis, the educational presence not only will help in the classes but also in the daily social life.

Building a strong knowledgeable base of students - The most significant strength of CoI approach is that it deepens and builds a strong base of the educational understanding among the students (, 2018). It empowers the students and encourages them to create their own connection with what they learnt and later adapt them too by using in daily routine.

Promoting deep core engagement with the learning - Another usefulness of this approach is that it encourages the learners’ engagement with their own learning not only limited to classes but also in the outer world. As opined by Harvey and Mallman (2019), this learning method creates immense interest in the students themselves through an enhanced learning process. In the research paper of Kozan and Caskurlu, they stated that CoI brought a very engaged and collaborative learning experience where both the learners and teachers separated their responsibilities of the process with integrity.

Initiates provision of differentiated instructed learning approach - This approach provides teaching instructions that are majorly differentiated from the other methods for example the flipped classroom approach, project based approach, cooperative leaning approach, Constructivist Approach and many more. Dado and Bodemer (2017) stated that the instructors if applies then they can utilise them to reach the whole class through various differentiated teaching strategies. This is other strength where contents can be presented as enhanced forms of study materials such as videos, texts, helps in organising students meet, audio, physically and virtually.

Prepares the student brain for creating ownership of their learning - This approach improve their interest in exploring into various learning subjects and in addition with this it facilitates reinforcing the autonomy of the learning in their educational environment. As suggested by Cooper and Scriven (2017), they get to understand and learn different styles that work best for them which will be best for them to adapt the learning. This CoI approach enhances the student brains to be able to learn easily what they get to learn from the classes or from outside the educational campuses and own them in reality.

CoI approach brings curiosity and love for being taught – While learning it is adamant that the students must love what they are adapting with their curios brain else just learning the subjects and study materials are waste of that knowledge. Another advantage which Kozan and Caskurlu (2018) advised that it brings is that it develops passion about the learning process and engages in a deep core understanding of the educational contents and study topics, instead of just memorising the topics and recalls the ideas, role playing characters, charts, figures, tables, formulas and rules.

Stimulates student potential for active learning - Intellectual stimulation is that power which brings dynamic strength in the students’ brain for the classes and activities of the education process. Coemans, S. and Hannes, K., 2017 opined that it is quite beneficial to do the piquing the curiosity of the learners about their educational activities which makes the students inquire about the class materials.

Makes the learning experience full of fun and enjoyment - Learning process in every educational system must needs to be always fun and excitement infused so that all the students get excited about their learning. This approach acts as a fun infused chance to the students to explore more and create their own imagination, develop their skills, improve their learning perception, collaborate with other students which will synthesize their cooperation sills too (Stokhof et al. 2017).

Challenges of the Community of Inquiry in the Primary Education settings

The community of inquiry (CoI) although provides lots of compelling advantages in context with the primary education settings, but there exists some challenges also in successfully implementing the community of inquiry approach. The approach faces challenges in all the tasks that are regarding with the learning and teaching area contents. The five most difficult from all the challenges of community of inquiry are –

Motivational challenges

In case of students, Kozan and Caskurlu (2018) suggested that to make them engage in the community of inquiry approach system for making them to contribute in such a way that they must learn meaningful knowledge, it is must that they should be motivated frequently and sufficiently. As a result of the motivation, the better interest of students towards their education and their implication in all aspects of life can be seen.

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Proper assessment of the investigating techniques

Another challenge here is that if the students who are engaging in this approach know and understand how to perform the tasks and know the objectives of the practice. In case if the students are unable to master in these practices in every aspects of life, they will also be unable to investigate the meaningful learning in educational field. As advised by Coemans and Hannes (2017) this approach requires appropriate means and tool designed for the utilisation in the primary settings that can be accessible for the students to face across the diversity of the skills with prior experiences in every challenging situation.

Formulation background information regarding context

This is quite a challenge that the development of plans, analysis, designing and the interpretation of the learning has to be done in a collective manner formulating the content knowledge (Stokhof et al. 2017). This is difficult for the learners because attaining a deep knowledge need huge patience, motivation and skills which everyone could pursue those competences in all. Kozan and Caskurlu (2018) opined most of the time it happens when the learners lacks the required knowledge and skills, they also lacks the opportunities to develop their understanding to complete the assessments.

Practical constraints of learned contexts

All the activities and technologies of the community of inquiry regarded learning methods are necessary to be fit in the learning if the practical constraints of the outer as well as internal environment (, 2018). The challenge comes when there is failure in working with the technology available and within the fit and fixed schedule while doing the designing work (Pang et. Al. 2018). Though, this challenge has less importance of itself as compared with the other four challenges which comes to the way of working.

In real scenarios, the most common challenge seen was the lack of proper technological infrastructure setting in the participants to get enabled by the learning (, 2018). There was poor network connectivity in many places since the cost of internet was still high there. So everybody couldn’t afford to get that. Second challenge as stated by the participants was pedagogic principles of the CoI approach method of designing courses lacks supporting the meaning learning. And many more such examples were there in the application of Community of Inquiry setup.


The Community of Inquiry model or a concept was first introduced by two of the early pragmatist philosophers named C.S. Peirce (1903) and John Dewey (1907) for making the education system experiences better. The above written assessment concludes that the community of inquiry is beneficial in every ways in a primary educational setting where in this primary education setting, the teachers follow the principle of communicating with the students to understand that where they are getting difficulty in understanding and solves their queries. The principles are presenting the procedure or ways of implementing this approach in the primary education system. This educational learning approach has some of the strengths and challenges also in it which can be resolved with proper measures.


Coemans, S. and Hannes, K., 2017. Researchers under the spell of the arts: Two decades of using arts-based methods in community-based inquiry with vulnerable populations. Educational Research Review, 22, pp.34-49.

Cooper, T. and Scriven, R., 2017. Communities of inquiry in curriculum approach to online learning: Strengths and limitations in context. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 33(4).

Dado, M. and Bodemer, D., 2017. A review of methodological applications of social network analysis in computer-supported collaborative learning. Educational Research Review, 22, pp.159-180.

Dempsey, P., 2017. The relationship between a community of inquiry and transformative learning.

Kozan, K. and Caskurlu, S., 2018. On the Nth presence for the Community of Inquiry framework. Computers & Education, 122, pp.104-118.

Moriña, A., 2017. Inclusive education in higher education: challenges and opportunities. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 32(1), pp.3-17.

Pang, N.S., Wang, T. and Leung, Z.L., 2018. Educational reforms and the practices of professional learning community in Hong Kong primary schools. Global Perspectives on Developing Professional Learning Communities, pp.39-55.

Seal, M. and Frost, S., 2014. Philosophy in youth and community work. Russell House Publishing., 2018. Seeking the best blend for deep learning in a flipped classroom – viewing student perceptions through the Community of Inquiry lens, available at: [Accessed on: 10th March, 2021]

Stokhof, H.J., De Vries, B., Martens, R.L. and Bastiaens, T.J., 2017. How to guide effective student questioning: a review of teacher guidance in primary education. Review of Education, 5(2), pp.123-165.

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