In the intensely focused iterative thought process leading up to my presentation [link to follow] at LILAC 2019 (both long term – I have been wrestling with FOSIL in some form or another, since 2011 – and short term – reflecting on my presentation ahead of my presentation), I gained insight into FOSIL, and inquiry more broadly, as a statement about what we believe about knowledge and learning.
The key stage in FOSIL is Construct – building factually accurate understanding (the relationship between understanding and knowledge, and indeed knowledge and information, is interesting and requires further discussion). The stages before Construct enable the construction of understanding, and the stages that follow enable sharing that understanding. In this view of knowledge and learning, factually accurate knowledge and understanding is something that children construct for themselves from factually accurate information with more or less help from us depending on their age and need.
The contrasting view of knowledge and learning is revealed by the ‘research’ assignment that we are all too familiar with, where the purpose is finding relevant information (Investigate, but without the burden of understanding it) and repeating it (Express, but without the burden of having understood it). In this view, knowledge is reduced to information, possibly accurate, that is often simply copied and pasted, or transmitted, because there is no need for understanding.
The tension between these two contrasting views of knowledge and learning is as present in the classroom as it is in the library.