How I contributed to the progression in student learning after Q1 and Q2
Kulthau et al (2007) suggests that ‘students gain competence in inquiry learning by being guided through the inquiry process by teams of teachers and librarians’. The strategies I used to assist the students, at the critical points in the inquiry where they needed this instruction to progress in their learning, included:
- helping students develop research competency and subject knowledge
- fostering cooperative learning, and
- social skills (Kuhlthau et al, 2007)
The classroom teachers and I discussed how we could model and encourage students to raise their own questions. A majority of students found this difficult except for a small group of students. They initiated self-generated topics of discussion that lead to increased engagement and by the end of the inquiry, this group showed a greater interest in the topic.
We also encouraged group collaboration, choice and conversation about the topic. Groupings consisted of pairs, individuals or small groups of 3-4, the choice of which was decided by the students in the initial stage of the inquiry. We also conducted whole class instruction and discussion sessions at times when the students began to lose interest and began to drift off task. Often this was due to a variety of distractions around them because they were working together in such a large group and in such a large space (the new spacious BER Resource Centre).
Based on Kuhlthau et al’s (2007) intervention for the ‘five kinds of learning’, we also encouraged fact-finding, interpretation of facts, locating of and evaluating resources, interaction with others and group cooperation.
Throughout the initial stages of the inquiry we gained an insight into the students prior knowledge of the topic by finding out what they already knew about the topic, how they were going to find out more about the topic and what they wanted to learn about the topic. A majority of the students chose to develop a mind map to organise their thoughts and ideas about the topic. We referred back to these views if and when the students became disheartened, confused or disinterested during the exploration stage of the information search process.
After conducting interviews at the end of the project, a sample of student expressed how I had assisted them in their learning.
- “Miss Calabro helped us how we can do research.”
- “Well it’s sometimes easy to access but you don’t really get through internet but was easy to find websites with Miss Calabro around. Thanks Miss Calabro for helping out.”
- “Finding websites and downloading it to Only 2 Clicks, it was fun, especially with Miss Calabro’s help, that’s how it makes our work easier.”
- “Find websites, put it in my own words and to get help from Miss Calabro.”