This paper discusses both challenges and opportunities for using inquiry-based learning in public administration postgraduate education in a context of internationalisation. In particular, we discuss the appropriateness of inquiry-based learning for teaching diverse groups of students from varied international backgrounds. Inquiry-based learning has been widely promoted in the United Kingdom higher education sector and seems intuitively appealing as a pedagogical approach for an applied subject such as public administration. However, there are challenges associated with using inquiry-based learning with postgraduate international students who have a short time to assimilate complex theories and concepts in a second language, and have often been educated previously in contexts with a more didactic tradition of education. With the increasing internationalisation of the United Kingdom higher education sector, we suggest there is tension between some of the teaching and learning methods that are being promoted nationally and the needs of an increasingly diverse international student body. Reflecting on our own experiences as teachers of international students on public administration programmes, we outline both the benefits and limitations of teaching with inquiry-based learning but also suggest ways in which this type of approach could be assimilated within the broader set of pedagogical practices used with international postgraduate students.
- public administration
- inquiry-based learning