Thinking further, what does the paradigm shift from, and what does it shift to?
Why is this paradigm shift necessary, which may be the same as why it matters? To us? To our colleagues? To our children? To our communities? To our society?
For interest, I share the following and am guessing that we are mainly talking about paradigm in the sociological sense, although I am also guessing that we have a tendency to look backwards to exemplary past achievements rather than forwards to achievements that are yet to accomplished?
Kuhn, T. S. (1996). The structure of scientific revolutions. 3rd edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
On the one hand, [paradigm] stands for the entire constellation of beliefs, values, techniques, and so on shared by the members of a given community [sociological]. On the other, it denotes a sort of element in that constellation, the concrete puzzle-solutions which, employed as models or examples, can replace explicit rules as a basis for the solution of the remaining problems of normal science [exemplary past achievements]. (p. 175)
Inquiry is not limited to the International Baccalaureate. However, as an inquiry-based approach to learning and teaching that can be traced back to the early 1960s, an approach to which the Library/ian is integral, there is much of theoretical and practical value about inquiry that we can take from the IB.
The IB document Ideal libraries: A guide for schools (2018, p. 9) – quoting Callison (2015) and Levitov (2016), who are almost certainly not writing about the IB – makes the point that “inquiry is more expansive than research, and facilitating it requires expertise beyond research methods”. Furthermore, as “libraries are where many inquiries begin and continue, the librarian is responsible for energizing and maintaining the inquiry process. Ideally, the librarian is trained in many ways of creating conditions for inquiry within and beyond the classroom.”
This echoes the point in the text under discussion, that “the teaching of inquiry skills represents a paradigm shift for school librarians” that is still underway (p. 53).
Before moving on to discuss what changes fundamentally when inquiry, especially Investigate, takes place in a digital environment, we should give some thought to this paradigm shift and what it demands of us in the library and the classroom.
Callison, D. (2015). The evolution of inquiry: controlled, guided, modeled, and free. Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited.
IBO. (2018). Ideal libraries: A guide for schools. Cardiff: International Baccalaureate Organisation (UK) Ltd.
Levitov, D. (2016). School Libraries, Librarians, and Inquiry Learning. Teacher Librarian, 28-35.
While it is true that we all operate within a number of externally and internally imposed constraints, it is also true that we make time for what we truly value. This tension is captured well in the concluding paragraph of the very interesting Inquiry vs direct teaching for interdisciplinary STEM, by Professor Russell Tytler (9 August 2019), Chair of Science Education at Deakin University:
Direct teaching advocates the gradual ceding of control to students after they have been taught techniques, and monitoring of their work, rather than our staged process of exploration, invention, evaluation and revision. The payoff, we argue, is that students come to know the disciplinary ideas in richer ways. We have found, however, that the approach requires of teachers both significant knowledge of the science and mathematics, and command of a pedagogy involving negotiation and refinement of student ideas, compared to ‘telling’. It also takes more time. However, if we are serious about developing STEM skills for interdisciplinary problem solving, we argue there are no shortcuts.
It is important to note that Tytler is speaking about students at school, and that this tension is obviously not limited to STEM.
I have confirmed the date and time of the Q&A with Barbara Stripling – Sunday 28 March 2021 at 2pm-3.30pm GMT / UTC – which will be recorded for colleagues who will not be able to join us for practical reasons.
As with everything on the FOSIL Group website, the chapter that we will be discussing – Empowering Students to Inquire in a Digital Environment – is free to download for purposes of the discussion here with the kind permission of colleagues at School Library Connection and Libraries Unlimited / ABC-CLIO.
While it will be possible to follow the discussion without joining the FOSIL Group, participating in the discussion will require registering for an account, which is free.
If inquiry, as we are coming to understand it, is “a dynamic process and stance aimed at building knowledge and understanding of the world and ourselves in it as the basis for responsible participation in community,” then inquiry in a digital environment is of vital concern for us, and we hope that many of you will be able to join us in this discussion, whether directly or indirectly.
Interestingly, BCTLA combined Connect and Wonder in their model, which is called Points of Inquiry (see Figure 1 below). Given the time and thought that went into the development of Points of Inquiry, I would be very interested to know more about why they decided to do this, because Connect and Wonder are still clearly distinct. It might be as simple as Points of Inquiry being a clever idea/ name that did not work well graphically with a 6-pointed star. I will see if I can find out more.
The BCTLA K-12 Information Literacy Task Force moved, over a period of more than three years, to deeper understanding of the importance of learners being able to think critically about information, about sources of information, and about constructing and answering their own questions. The goal posts had shifted well beyond the search for a right model for research for the BC curriculum to the capacity for drawing new knowledge from an inquiry-based approach to information, reading, and 21st Century learning.
The model no longer puts a focus on information literacy skills. Rather it embeds these skills under broader inquiry-based cognitive abilities and within curriculum to empower and position young British Columbians to become strategic and independent lifelong learners.
There are resources for Elementary School, Middle/Junior School and Secondary School, which, like FOSIL and the ESIFC, are free to download.
Figure 2: Rhode Island School Library Curriculum Guide | About This Project (SLRI, 2019)
Figure 3: Rhode Island School Library Curriculum Guide | Introduction (SLRI, 2019)
I have been in touch with Mary-Rose about her Primary FOSIL Display, to which she replied, “Funnily enough, I have been thinking about this a lot this week. We have got this far (see Figure 4 below), and it’s now ready for the dual coding/explanation.” We shall look forward to hearing more.
Figure 4: Primary FOSIL Display (Hartland International School Libraries)
I would be anxious about changing the names of the stages because Barbara Stripling put much thought into them (see here and especially here), and, having spent some considerable time looking at other models, I think they accurately describe each stage in the inquiry process. However, the expanded descriptions of each stage (see Figure 1 below), which I formulated to help me/ us understand what was basically happening in each stage, could be adapted for younger students. Having said that, at what point it is developmentally appropriate to actually name the stages with these words would be up to you – an earlier version of the FOSIL Cycle used Screen Beans to illustrate the description of each of the stages (see Figure 2 below), and images could conceivably serve as the ‘names’ of the stages for a while, but you would still need to explain what they meant. Also, the use of colour in each of the stages is deliberate and has served a very useful instructional role in this regard with younger and older students (although, admittedly, colour does not work equally for all students).
This has reminded me of the following Topic – Primary FOSIL Display – which touches on what we are talking about here, and I will flag this with Mary-Rose. I will also flag this with Barbara on Sunday.
Just to check, do you mean the stages in the cycle – Connect, Wonder, Investigate, Construct, Express, Reflect – or something more detailed?
The Empire State Information Fluency Continuum (ESIFC), which FOSIL is based on, is a model and continuum of skills that stretches from PK (Reception) to Grade 12 (Year 13), and has been in use in New York State – more than 3.2 million children in 4,236 schools – since 2012 (or 2009 in New York City – the ESIFC is also in use in at least British Columbia and Rhode Island).
We have experienced no problems using FOSIL with our Year 6 students, and I can’t imagine why this would not be the case lower down, although the challenge would be developing age-appropriate graphic organisers to support the development of the relevant inquiry skills – something that we would be very interested in helping with.
In addition to the graphic organisers that we have developed (Resources), see also the ESIFC Assessments by Grade and/ or Standard, which is where I first started.
I will post at greater length tomorrow (including downloadable posters), but wanted to preview Draft 1 of the mind mapping of the FOSIL and ATL skills integration based on the mapping in your Excel spreadsheet above (see Figures 1 and 2 below).
In short, as expected, a well-designed FOSIL inquiry will develop ATL skills from all 10 of the ATL skill clusters, and the spread of ATL skills will be even greater if we take into account the broader emotional and social development that occurs during the inquiry process.
Figure 1: FOSIL / ESIFC Reflected in the IB MYP ATL Skills
Figure 2: IB MYP ATL Skills in the FOSIL / ESIFC Skill Sets
I will use citing sources to illustrate various aspects of the discussion above.
Citing is 1 of 14 ATL skills located within the Information Literacy cluster in the Research Category (see Figure 1 below).
Figure 1: Citing as an ATL Skill
By contrast, citing constitutes the Academic Integrity skill set in FOSIL, which is located in the Express stage (see Figure 2 below), and which, regardless of the terminology used, is consistent with instructional information literacy models as well as instructional models that develop information literacy skills within the inquiry process.
Figure 2: Citing as a FOSIL Skill
This matters from an instructional point of view, because in addition to teaching students how to cite (which requires mainly technical and mechanical competence, but also academic competence), we also need to teach them when to cite, which is when they are sharing their knowledge and understanding with reference to the sources of information that their knowledge and understanding is built from (which requires mainly academic competence). This reflects the broader problem with the ATL skills, which is that the logic of the categories and clusters is not the logic of the learning process, which in the case of the MYP is an inquiry-based learning process.
Using Year 9 (Grade 8) as an example, which is instructive for Year 7 (Grade 6) and Year 12 (Grade 11), a number of practical difficulties emerge.
Year 9 (Grade 8) is the final year of our 3-year MYP. As explained in the Year 9 FOSIL Inquiry Skills Project Topic, approximately half of the students joining us in Year 9 are new to the school, with the other half joining us from our Lower School. (In Year 7 (Grade 6), the overwhelming majority of student are new to the school, while in Year 12 (Grade 11) a significant minority of students are new to the school, mainly to do the IB Diploma Programme.) From the perspective of the school library, information literacy skills instruction has benefitted from a process approach since the early 1980s, although the broader shift towards a specifically inquiry-process approach, and hence the development of inquiry-learning skills within the inquiry process, has been underway since the early 1960s. In the absence of a national continuum of inquiry-learning skills – which, in the case of the Empire State Information Fluency Continuum that FOSIL is based on, includes literacy, inquiry, critical thinking and technology skills, involves both the cognitive and affective domains, and addresses cognitive, emotional and social development – students entering the school in year 9 do so with varying degrees of competence in citing their sources. Since the development of FOSIL in 2011, all students entering Year 9 from our Lower School will be increasingly competent in citing their sources, and ought to describe themselves as Practitioner at the very least (see Figure 3 below), given that we have had 2 years to teach them to cite their sources, and they ought to have had 2 years to practise citing their sources across all subject groups.
Figure 3: ATL Skill Competence Levels
By contrast, the overwhelming majority of students who are new to the school in Year 9 would describe themselves Novice. This situation presents us with 2 instructional problems, which are mirrored in Year 7 and Year 12, which are (1) how to effectively develop the level of competence of all students in a certain skill when for some/ many that skill is a new skill, and (2) how to effectively teach that skill so that all students describe themselves as at least Practitioner. From the perspective of the Year 9 FOSIL Inquiry Skills Project, students encounter the skill of citing their sources during the process of an inquiry, which means that they record the details of their sources mainly during the Investigate stage of the inquiry, and then cite their sources during the Express stage. This means that the skill is taught and practised as part of the inquiry process, which is a learning process. This also means that the skill is encountered as a means to an end – embedded in learning – rather than an end in itself. The fact that the skill is a means to an end also means that those students who are already Practitioners can simply use the skill of citing in the course of their inquiry, while those students who are Novices can benefit from greater instructional help, either from the teacher or, preferably, other students who are Experts. However, from an instructional point of view, I would expect all students to emerge from the Year 9 FOSIL Inquiry Skills Project as at least Practitioners of the skill of citing their sources, because this is the level that I would be teaching this skill at.
Now, if we had an equivalent to the Year 9 FOSIL Inquiry Skills Project In Year 7, then I would expect all Year 7 students to emerge from the Year 7 FOSIL Inquiry Skills Project as at least Practitioners of the skill of citing their sources, because this is the level that I would be teaching this skill at. This raises another aspect of the problem with the progression of skills within the ATL. Within the FOSIL continuum of skills, the skill of citing sources progresses developmentally (see Figure 4 below).
Figure 4: The Development of Citing in the FOSIL Continuum
It is worth noting that while citing as a technical term first appears in Year 7, making the distinction between something that I have created and something that someone else has created, which is the foundation that academic integrity rests on, is first taught in Reception (Pre-K). Our local style format, or house style, is based on [a simplified] APA, which is what we teach and use in Years 6, 7 and 8. We actually make the shift to full APA as our standard style format in Year 9, because we have the opportunity to do so through the Year 9 FOSIL Inquiry Skills Project – and not in Year 10 (Grade 9), when the focus of teaching and learning has almost entirely shifted to preparation for the Year 11 (Grade 10) public GCSE public examination – and it proved to be developmentally appropriate to do so.
By contrast, there is no sense of how the ATL skill of “creating references and citations, using footnotes/endnotes and constructing a bibliography according to recognized conventions” develops over the course of either the 3-year or 5-year MYP.
I’ll end with the example of how the graphic organiser that we designed to support the use of this skill [and others], which is then also evidence of the use of this skill, develops from Years 6-8, through Years 9-11, to Years 12-13. For examples of student work that this leads to, please see the Year 9 FOSIL Inquiry Skills Project and the and Year 9 Individual Project.
Figure 5: Investigative Journal for Years 6-8 (Grades 5-7)
Figure 6: Investigative Journal for Years 9-11 (Grades 8-10)
Figure 7: Investigative Journal for Years 12-13 (Grades 11-12)
What I’ve learned from my time on the IFLA Section Standing Committee for School Libraries is that there is a wide gap between university colleagues in the US who are writing for school librarians and those writing for academic librarians. The authors do not appear to have a school focus, which, in my opinion, limits the value of the book, especially if you are pressed for time.
Thank you for broadening this out, which is a timely reminder that we serve, in the terms of the IFLA School Library Guidelines and IFLA/UNESCO School Library Manifesto, an educational purpose – improving teaching and learning for all – and a moral purpose – making a difference in the lives of young people. While these terms require some unpacking, inquiry – understood as a dynamic process and stance aimed at building knowledge and understanding of the world and ourselves in it as the basis for responsible participation in community – is essential to fulfilling these purposes.
At the risk of oversimplifying, knowledge is built from information, which comes to us either directly though experience or, especially in the context of school, indirectly through recorded experience (mainly secondary, but also primary). Norman Beswick (1967), in making this point also, helpfully, reminds us to be broad-minded about what constitutes a record: “some knowledge, truly, comes from experience and experiment; most knowledge from record, in the widest McLuhan-like sense” (p. 201).
This record includes but is not limited to the library’s collections, which should reflect, as Julian Astle and Laura Partridge (2018, p. 10) so eloquently put it in Education for enlightenment, “the great conversation of mankind – the unending dialogue between the living, the dead and the yet-to-be-born … the best that has been thought, said and done,” and our task, then, is to “equip [our children] to appreciate it, interrogate it, apply it and build on it” through inquiry. It should be noted that it is this conversation, or more precisely the content of this conversation, that is of fundamental concern to us, and not the records, or resources, themselves.
Entering into this conversation remains more or less dependent on reading – “in the widest McLuhan-like sense” – from within an inquiry process and stance. Consequently, a greater understanding of the role of reading, and literacy more broadly, in the inquiry process becomes vital.
How might we start describing this role of reading, and literacy more broadly, in the inquiry process?
Astle, J., & Partridge, L. (2018). Education for enlightenment. In A. Painter (Ed.), Ideas for a 21st century enlightenment (pp. 10-15). London: RSA Action and Research Centre.
Beswick, N. W. (1967). The ‘Library-College’ – the ‘True University’? The Library Association Record, 198-202.
Not only do I think this is an achievable goal, but I also think that it is vital that we pursue this goal. The key to achieving this goal will be to provide confidence-inspiring evidence that approaching the ATL skills through FOSIL not only satisfies the IB’s requirements for the explicit teaching of ATL skills, but actually benefits the teaching and learning of the ATL skills, as well as the Approaches to teaching more broadly (see Figure 1 below).
Figure 1: Approaches to teaching
The immediate value of FOSIL (or any other sound model of the inquiry process) is that it makes the stages of the inquiry process explicit. MYP: From principles into practice makes reference to the inquiry process and the inquiry cycle, but does not, as far as I can tell, explicitly model this process/ cycle. The added value of FOSIL, as discussed in my post above, then, is that it is both a sound instructional model of the inquiry process/ cycle and a continuum of the inquiry-learning skills that enable each of the stages of the process/ cycle – see E&L Memo 1 | Learning to know and understand through inquiry by Barbara Stripling and Reflecting on E&L Memo 1 with Barbara Stripling for insight into the development of the inquiry model and continuum of inquiry-learning skills that FOSIL is based on.
It is important to be clear that approaching the ATL skills through FOSIL does not mean that all teaching and learning needs to be a full inquiry that involves all of the stages of the FOSIL inquiry process – a misconception that arises from a lack of understanding that inquiry is both a process and a stance – but it is difficult to imagine any teaching and learning that does not involve skill sets/ skills from one or more of the stages in the FOSIL inquiry process. This is entirely consistent with the view of MYP: From principles into practice that “not all approaches to teaching in the MYP will take place in an inquiry setting”, and “can include lectures, demonstrations, memorization and individual practice” (p. 74).
I have not had time today to include a practical example, but will aim to do so tomorrow.
By way of encouragement from MYP: From principles into practice (p. 64):
Schools can use this list [of ATL skills] to build their own frameworks for developing students who are empowered as self-directed learners, and teachers in all subject groups can draw from these skills to identify approaches to learning that students will develop in MYP units.
Apologies for the delay, but I am working around some constraints in the mapping software.
From the perspective of FOSIL, the Approaches to learning (ATL) skills present 3 problems.
The first is that the ATL skills are grouped logically into categories and clusters (see Figure 1 below), but not logically according to stages in the inquiry process, such as FOSIL (see Figure 2 below and attached as an A3 poster).
Figure 1: IB MYP ATL Skill Categories and Clusters
Figure 2: FOSIL Inquiry Stages and Skill Sets
This is odd, because “inquiry, as a curriculum stance, pervades all [IB] Programmes” (Tilke, 2011, p. 5). This then creates a practical problem for teachers/ librarians, because they either need to figure out which stage of the inquiry process individual ATL skills logically belong to, or they need to figure out which ATL skills fit logically into each of the stages of the inquiry process. Given that some ATL skills from all the clusters / categories need to be taught explicitly, the gap between the logic of the ATL skill clusters/ categories and that of the inquiry process practically ensures that these inquiry-learning skills will not be developed systematically and progressively within the inquiry process.
It is worth pausing to clear up a misconception at this point. Inquiry is an approach to learning (hence the MYP Approaches to learning) and teaching (hence the MYP Approaches to teaching). FOSIL is both a model/ framework of the inquiry process and a framework/ continuum of the inquiry-learning skills that enable the stages of the inquiry process. FOSIL is, therefore, an approach to learning and teaching, and so encompasses all of the ATL skill clusters / categories. The misconception is that inquiry, and by association FOSIL, is the same as research, and is, therefore, reduced to the Research ATL skill category, which only involves the Information Literacy and Media Literacy ATL skill clusters. The IB recognizes this – Ideal libraries: a guide for school (IBO, 2018, p. 9), citing Callison (2015) and Levitov (2016), states that “inquiry is more expansive than research, and facilitating it requires expertise beyond research methods”. This echoes the IFLA School Library Guidelines (2015), which identify developing media and information literacy (MIL) skills within the inquiry process as core instructional activities of the school librarian. From the perspective of FOSIL, it is more accurate to think of research as Investigate, with elements of Express and Construct.
Secondly, the 140 ATL skills listed in the IB documentation is not meant to be prescriptive, and schools may use their own framework of skills provided that they cover all of the ATL skill clusters/ categories. This is a tall order, though, and it is more likely that schools will view the list of 140 ATL skills as canonical and end up treating them as peripheral, rather than integral, to the inquiry process. By contrast, the inquiry-learning skills that make up the continuum of inquiry-learning skills that FOSIL is based on (see Figure 3 and 4 below, for example, both of which are attached as A3 posters) are integral to the inquiry process. This continuum of inquiry-learning skills – stretching from PK (Reception) to Grade 12 (Year 13) – was developed by Barbara Stripling in 2009, endorsed by New York State in 2012 as the Empire State Information Fluency Continuum, and reimagined in 2019 “to adapt to the changing information, education, and technology environments, as well as the increasing diversity in our student populations”.
Figure 3: FOSIL Inquiry Stages, Skill Sets and Priority Skills for MYP (Grades 6-8 / Years 7-9)
Figure 4: FOSIL Inquiry Stages, Skill Sets and Continuum Skills with Priority Skills for MYP (Grades 6-8 / Years 7-9)
Thirdly, there is the question of proficiency / competence. MYP: From principles into practice (IBO, 2017, p. 107) states:
While this fine for assessing competence / proficiency in any given ATL at any given point, it presents practical difficulties for the teaching of the ATL skills in a systematic and progressive way. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, some of the ATL skills are actually skill sets, or complexes of skills (see, for example, Figures 5 and 6 below). Secondly, there is no sense of how a given ATL skill, or complex of skills, develops over the course of the MYP (see, for example, Figures 5 and 6 below), or even over the course of a single year.
For example, the ‘single’ ATL skill of “locating, organizing, analysing, evaluating, synthesizing and ethically using information from a variety of sources and media (including digital social media and online networks)” (see Figure 5 below) is actually a [very] complex of skills/ skill sets, which are mainly located in part of the Investigate stage of FOSIL (see Figure 6 below), although there are also elements of Construct and Express included for good measure!
Figure 5: Example of a Complex ATL Skill
Figure 6: Partially Unpacking and Progressively Developing a Complex ATL Skill in FOSIL