I’m Emma Wallace, Librarian at St Benedict’s School, West London, an independent Catholic school. I have worked as the senior school librarian now for over five years and run library lessons for all year 7 and 8 students, plus some one off research sessions with sixth formers. I am also very involved in supporting the HPQ (whole of year 8) and EPQ ( year 12), acting as EPQ Lead Supervisor, helping to teach some of the taught element skills sessions and organise research trips to a range of libraries, as well as university outreach skills training. It is through the EPQ that I have developed a close working partnership with English teacher Dr Julie Greenhough, who is also the EPQ Centre coordinator, writing a number of joint pieces and presenting together at conferences on topics such as, critical thinking skills, digital literacy and dis and misinformation (all leading to the below SLA publication).
I first became aware of Inquiry Based Learning and FOSIL when attending a Haileybury Group Librarians meeting in the summer of 2019 at Oakham School, when Jenny Toerien explained the concept and how the framework is used there. I was so inspired by this introduction that I came back to school and immediately emailed my Senior team about what a great student learning model this is! Whilst I have used some of the ideas of Inquiry, a number of the stages of the FOSIL cycle, including the worksheets available on this website, I haven’t yet managed to fully implement IBL as a programme. I also attended an excellent training session with Elizabeth Hutchinson in March 2020, when I was reinvigorated with the idea of implementing IBL at my school, but unforutnatley the pandemic then struck!
I have though been lucky enough to be invited to write a new School Library Association Guidelines on the topic of Inquiry Based Learning. The working title for this guide so far is ‘SLA Guidelines: The Librarian and Teacher Mindset: A Practical Guide to Inquiry Based Learning‘ and is still a work in progress. It would be really great if I could engage further with the community here to discuss ideas, content and key focuses – it is very much intended to be a practical guidelines to help other school librarians so any help would be appreciated.