This is intended as an evolving glossary of a shared vocabulary. Many of these terms will have multiple definitions so, to avoid confusion, as a community we will need to agree common definitions for our discussions. We have chosen some as a starter, but please do add comments and suggestions, and I will update this original post as our shared vocabulary grows in order to generate a single alphabetical list for easy reference.
Information Literacy: “Information literacy is the ability to think critically and make balanced judgements about any information we find and use. It empowers us as citizens to reach and express informed views and to engage fully with society.”(CILIP, 2018)[link to source]
Inquiry: “Inquiry is an approach to learning whereby students find and use a variety of sources of information and ideas to increase their understanding of a problem, topic or issue. It requires more of them than simply answering questions or getting a right answer.” (Kuhlthau, 2007, p. 2)
What is knowledge and how do we become knowledgeable, which for us then also becomes what our role is in children becoming knowledgeable.
This may seem “all abstract and philosophical,” but I am only now beginning to appreciate how debilitating it is for us not to have command of words like this (and pedagogy, which Seymour Papert defined simply as the method and practice of teaching) in our working vocabulary, because what we believe knowledge is and how we become knowledgeable, or learn, subtly but profoundly determines what we do and how we go about doing it.
This was hauntingly brought home to me when watching Iris, the film about British writer and philosopher Iris Murdoch. At one terrifying point in the film, as Alzheimer’s disease began to dissolve the connection between words and their meaning, she asks, “Without words, how does one think?”
So, if we are in the business of knowledge and learning, yet do not have clarity about what we understand by knowledge and how children learn, then how do we think about and reflect on what we do. Even worse, how do we effectively collaborate with our colleagues outside of the library to create the optimal conditions for learning that you refer to.
Something to think about – the fact that a model of the inquiry process, or inquiry more broadly, has brought this community into being, speaks volumes about what we believe knowledge is and how children learn, and what our role in that learning is, even if we can’t yet articulate this clearly.