FOSIL Group member Elizabeth Hutchinson will be sharing with colleagues at a free CILIP School Libraries Group Scotland CPD event.
Librarians as teachers of sense-making skills: Framing the learning process through FOSIL
FOSIL Group member Dr Barbara Striping, whose influential work informs the ongoing development of FOSIL, makes the point in E&L Memo 1 | Learning to know and understand through inquiry that “[John] Dewey’s recognition of the need for both content and skills provided solid justification for the role of a school librarian as a teacher of sense-making skills”.
This is important for two reasons. Firstly, it identifies the librarian as a teacher and locates them within a learning process – that of constructing knowledge and understanding from information, which is an inquiry learning process. Secondly, it identifies the specialist teaching contribution that the librarian makes to this inquiry learning process – that of enabling students to develop the skills that will empower them to learn by finding out for themselves.
This matters, because being integral to the educational process – as the IFLA/UNESCO School Library Manifesto declares in principle and the IFLA School Library Guidelines affirm in practical terms – requires becoming teachers of these sense-making skills.
Now inquiry – understood as a stance of wonder and puzzlement that gives rise to a dynamic process of coming to know and understand the world and ourselves in it as the basis for responsible participation in society – is a learning process that depends on these sense-making skills, which are metacognitive, cognitive, affective/ emotional and social. For these skills to be transformational, both inwardly and outwardly, they need to be developed systematically and progressively within a sound instructional model of the inquiry learning process, and in the context of content area teaching.
FOSIL is both such a model and a PK-12 (age 4-18) framework of these sense-making skills, along with a growing collection of graphic organizers for developing these skills within the inquiry learning process. More broadly, and through the FOSIL Group, FOSIL is also a collaborative and supportive community of inquiry. Viewed and approached in this way, FOSIL-based inquiry is an effective means for librarians to become instructional partners with their classroom colleagues to the lasting benefit of their students.
This talk will provide a background to FOSIL, an overview of the model and an exploration of how it works by way of diverse practical examples drawn from content area and extracurricular learning.