This is such an interesting discussion, I too like Helen, am spending a lot of time trying to get my head around, not the theory, but the practice of FOSIL. I think that gets to the heart of this question about paradigm shift. I was employed to be the solo librarian at an IB school that hadn’t had a librarian for some years and so didn’t really have any idea what I might be able to offer. This has afforded me great opportunities as the management are very supportive but I am finding it hard to find a clear and sensible path to implementation of any Inquiry based learning. There are a number of causes of this difficulty.
There is a problem with the curriculum in my opinion despite us being a IB MYP school (this means that we follow the IB in years 7-9) we sit GCSEs in Year 11 and so the teachers are reluctant to follow inquiry based teaching widely in the lower school as they feel they need to cover certain skills or topics in preparation for GCSE. GCSE has no coursework element and is very much a rote learning exercise and this means that if we are not careful we are not preparing our students for the IB Diploma in Years 12 & 13 or the world beyond school.
As has already been mentioned very few of us have any teaching qualifications, this was foremost in my mind as I read Baraba’s work. I long to have a better understanding of pedagogy and feel strongly that, as a profession, the lack of specialist sector training lets us down and makes us ill prepared for the paradigm shift we are discussing.
The other, perpetual issue, is time, not only that I need to find time to think, plan and organise around my other responsibilities but teachers need to find time to rethink parts of their planning to incorporate a new approach. I need to be able to demonstrate the value and help them plan the inquiry. Every year I look for time to work with teachers but without the impetus of a whole school approach, time is never made and soon another year has passed.
To me this feels like the beginning of a potentially huge change in education practice with, very excitingly, libraries and librarians at its heart. My thoughts are now turning, as I said to the practical implementations in my school on the ground. I do hope that this approach might gain the traction, in the UK, that Barbara has managed to achieve in the US and begin to enter the mainstream of educational thought.