The PPT presentation may be downloaded from here, so please do join in even if you did not mange to join us on the day.
Inquiry: an educational and moral imperative
The IFLA School Library Guidelines, rooted in the IFLA/UNESCO School Library Manifesto, remind us that the school library exists to serve its educational purpose – improving teaching and learning for all – and its moral purpose – making a difference in the lives of young people. While equally important, our educational purpose forms the frontline of our struggle to secure a vital future for our libraries. In order to fulfil our educational purpose, we must actually be integral to the educational process, as both the Manifesto and Guidelines proclaim. As a student-centred educational process to which the school library is integral, inquiry not only enables us to fulfil our educational purpose, but also our moral purpose, and so becomes our educational and moral imperative.
This topic was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by Darryl Toerien. Reason: Added link to PPT presentation
Thank you for sharing this presentation, Darryl and Barbara.
I often feel that I am chasing something almost impossible to catch. Something that I have a real grasp on, but then it jumps from my hands and I am again grappling to catch it again.
As librarians, we are not only expected to understand all of this ourselves but to share our learning and understanding with our teachers and students, and this is not easy. I remember saying to Darryl, early in my journey with FOSIL, that I would never be able to explain how FOSIL worked like he did, and he smiled and said that it just took practice, the more we talk about it the clearer it will become and I agree. I have not always got it right, but I have at least tried and then learnt from my mistakes. I am obviously doing something right, as a librarian said the same thing to me the other day, and it was me smiling this time.
Your explanation of what FOSIL and inquiry learning brings to school librarians has once again helped me take another step forward. Giving me a fresh understanding of why I believe FOSIL and inquiry-based learning is so important not only for school librarians but our teachers and students too. I loved the explanation of being able to support the whole child. Being able to support and encourage a child’s journey in wonder and learning is a huge privilege and one that I am continually excited to be part of.
My focus now is to help primary schools understand that this journey starts with them. I feel that as many primary schools don’t have school librarians that there is a real need to find a way to engage teachers at this level to support their students in independent learning and inquiry. That is another slippery fish to catch, though 😊.
I agree with you, Elizabeth, that the inquiry journey starts in primary school. I think that’s when we start building an inquiry stance by fostering a sense of wonder about the world, as well as what the children are learning in school. I know that most primary school teachers encourage and honor their students’ questions and curiosities, but I have been thinking about how the teachers might build an inquiry stance from that questioning. I think adding two factors to their teaching responses to questioning would transform ad hoc questioning into inquiry:
giving students time and resources to find answers to their questions so that the focus shifts from blurting out miscellaneous questions to following up on questions that really matter to the students and giving them the chance to learn something new (perhaps by setting aside a short inquiry time every Friday, for example, when students can pursue answers to their questions and write or draw pictures in their inquiry journals); and
helping the students recognize the joy of their own thinking by asking followup questions that cause students to think about their own thinking (“What made you ask that question?” “What do you think the answer will be?” “Do you have other questions about this same topic?”).
I think most primary teachers naturally incorporate class discussions throughout the day, while they are reading stories, having a share-circle time, or teaching new content in social studies and science. They could naturally blend in the two strategies above to those interactive sessions and I think the students will be well on their way to developing an inquiry stance.
I love these ideas, Barbara. It certainly is down to practice I feel. What a nice idea to give students time to ‘pursue answers to their questions’. Many students really don’t have the skills to ask ‘good’ questions by the time they get to secondary school. To be able to practice these skills is essential and giving them a specific opportunity to do this is a great way to do this.
I think it might be something that teachers need to practice too 😊.