I will use citing sources to illustrate various aspects of the discussion above.
Citing is 1 of 14 ATL skills located within the Information Literacy cluster in the Research Category (see Figure 1 below).
Figure 1: Citing as an ATL Skill
By contrast, citing constitutes the Academic Integrity skill set in FOSIL, which is located in the Express stage (see Figure 2 below), and which, regardless of the terminology used, is consistent with instructional information literacy models as well as instructional models that develop information literacy skills within the inquiry process.
Figure 2: Citing as a FOSIL Skill
This matters from an instructional point of view, because in addition to teaching students how to cite (which requires mainly technical and mechanical competence, but also academic competence), we also need to teach them when to cite, which is when they are sharing their knowledge and understanding with reference to the sources of information that their knowledge and understanding is built from (which requires mainly academic competence). This reflects the broader problem with the ATL skills, which is that the logic of the categories and clusters is not the logic of the learning process, which in the case of the MYP is an inquiry-based learning process.
Using Year 9 (Grade 8) as an example, which is instructive for Year 7 (Grade 6) and Year 12 (Grade 11), a number of practical difficulties emerge.
Year 9 (Grade 8) is the final year of our 3-year MYP. As explained in the Year 9 FOSIL Inquiry Skills Project Topic, approximately half of the students joining us in Year 9 are new to the school, with the other half joining us from our Lower School. (In Year 7 (Grade 6), the overwhelming majority of student are new to the school, while in Year 12 (Grade 11) a significant minority of students are new to the school, mainly to do the IB Diploma Programme.) From the perspective of the school library, information literacy skills instruction has benefitted from a process approach since the early 1980s, although the broader shift towards a specifically inquiry-process approach, and hence the development of inquiry-learning skills within the inquiry process, has been underway since the early 1960s. In the absence of a national continuum of inquiry-learning skills – which, in the case of the Empire State Information Fluency Continuum that FOSIL is based on, includes literacy, inquiry, critical thinking and technology skills, involves both the cognitive and affective domains, and addresses cognitive, emotional and social development – students entering the school in year 9 do so with varying degrees of competence in citing their sources. Since the development of FOSIL in 2011, all students entering Year 9 from our Lower School will be increasingly competent in citing their sources, and ought to describe themselves as Practitioner at the very least (see Figure 3 below), given that we have had 2 years to teach them to cite their sources, and they ought to have had 2 years to practise citing their sources across all subject groups.
Figure 3: ATL Skill Competence Levels
By contrast, the overwhelming majority of students who are new to the school in Year 9 would describe themselves Novice. This situation presents us with 2 instructional problems, which are mirrored in Year 7 and Year 12, which are (1) how to effectively develop the level of competence of all students in a certain skill when for some/ many that skill is a new skill, and (2) how to effectively teach that skill so that all students describe themselves as at least Practitioner. From the perspective of the Year 9 FOSIL Inquiry Skills Project, students encounter the skill of citing their sources during the process of an inquiry, which means that they record the details of their sources mainly during the Investigate stage of the inquiry, and then cite their sources during the Express stage. This means that the skill is taught and practised as part of the inquiry process, which is a learning process. This also means that the skill is encountered as a means to an end – embedded in learning – rather than an end in itself. The fact that the skill is a means to an end also means that those students who are already Practitioners can simply use the skill of citing in the course of their inquiry, while those students who are Novices can benefit from greater instructional help, either from the teacher or, preferably, other students who are Experts. However, from an instructional point of view, I would expect all students to emerge from the Year 9 FOSIL Inquiry Skills Project as at least Practitioners of the skill of citing their sources, because this is the level that I would be teaching this skill at.
Now, if we had an equivalent to the Year 9 FOSIL Inquiry Skills Project In Year 7, then I would expect all Year 7 students to emerge from the Year 7 FOSIL Inquiry Skills Project as at least Practitioners of the skill of citing their sources, because this is the level that I would be teaching this skill at. This raises another aspect of the problem with the progression of skills within the ATL. Within the FOSIL continuum of skills, the skill of citing sources progresses developmentally (see Figure 4 below).
Figure 4: The Development of Citing in the FOSIL Continuum
It is worth noting that while citing as a technical term first appears in Year 7, making the distinction between something that I have created and something that someone else has created, which is the foundation that academic integrity rests on, is first taught in Reception (Pre-K). Our local style format, or house style, is based on [a simplified] APA, which is what we teach and use in Years 6, 7 and 8. We actually make the shift to full APA as our standard style format in Year 9, because we have the opportunity to do so through the Year 9 FOSIL Inquiry Skills Project – and not in Year 10 (Grade 9), when the focus of teaching and learning has almost entirely shifted to preparation for the Year 11 (Grade 10) public GCSE public examination – and it proved to be developmentally appropriate to do so.
By contrast, there is no sense of how the ATL skill of “creating references and citations, using footnotes/endnotes and constructing a bibliography according to recognized conventions” develops over the course of either the 3-year or 5-year MYP.
I’ll end with the example of how the graphic organiser that we designed to support the use of this skill [and others], which is then also evidence of the use of this skill, develops from Years 6-8, through Years 9-11, to Years 12-13. For examples of student work that this leads to, please see the Year 9 FOSIL Inquiry Skills Project and the and Year 9 Individual Project.
Figure 5: Investigative Journal for Years 6-8 (Grades 5-7)
Figure 6: Investigative Journal for Years 9-11 (Grades 8-10)
Figure 7: Investigative Journal for Years 12-13 (Grades 11-12)