The role of the Teacher Librarian with regard to implementing a Guided Inquiry approach.
It is the role of the Teacher Librarian to educate and guide students to become active learners, with effective processes and good metacognition, to support quality learning. ‘Guided Inquiry is planned, targeted, supervised intervention throughout the inquiry process’ (Kuhlthau, 2010. p.20). It describes the idea of students being presented with a situation, aided by a educator and supported while they develop their own knowledge through questioning and research. The Teacher Librarian can successfully achieve learning outcomes through an implemented Guided Inquiry (GI) process. Furthermore, a GI approach will educate students with the skills to become accomplished, independent learners and members of society. Students need to learn to be forward thinking, to question information critically, to become active citizens. GI instruction provides students with the capabilities and competencies to rise to challenges in an increasing changing technological world.
The process of GI is carefully designed and structured. Students are supervised closely and are provided with intervention by a facilitator to aid in guiding student learning. GI units should be planned specifically around the curriculum hence developing a strong understanding and deep knowledge of a specific unit. Carefully supported and planned GI should result in independent learners (Kuhlthau & Todd, n.d.). With a constructivist approach to learning, GI has origins based in the Information Search Process (Kuhlthau, 2010). Utilising a wide variety of resources, inquiry learning follows seven scaffolded principals:
- Initiation- an engaging idea or question is put forward to students.
- Selection- students analyse their current knowledge and what they need to know.
- Exploration- students develop their own questions, build their knowledge further and analyse their findings.
- Formulation- develop questions and becoming aware of their own perspectives.
- Collection- assemble information that further develops their focus area.
- Presentation- sharing findings with others.
- Assessment- critical and self-reflection on metacognitive processes.
Guided Inquired encourages students’ to build a deeper understanding of curriculum content by increasing ability, challenging students through motivating circumstances. This is achieved through active engagement and reflection of both the topic and their own learning experiences (Dewey, 1933). Working collaboratively and social interaction will further develop student learning. Students should be prompted to link new knowledge with pre-existing background knowledge (Piaget, 1970). Additionally, guidance may be needed to encourage students to successfully acquire knowledge. Implementing this new understanding in the correct context will develop higher order thinking skills (Vygotsky, 1978).
GI is so successful because it steps away from a tradition teacher directed learning environment that relies on knowledge being transmitted to students. In its place, GI education steers more towards a constructivist learning style, which further caters for greater social and cultural knowledge acquisition (Piaget, 1970). Furthermore this allows students to ‘gain new confidence, competence, and expertise while acquiring information literacy skills’ (Dow, 2008, p. 339). Allowing students to solve realistic problems will better equip them to be more effective citizens as they grow older. ‘Guided Inquiry is a means by which student inquiry can be facilitated in schools while simultaneously being the vehicle for evidence based practice’ (FitzGerald, 2011). Students will learn from each other in a collaborative group setting and Guided inquiry caters for multiple intelligences resulting in deeper understanding (Gardner, 1993).
In conclusion, it is the role of the Teacher Librarian to demonstrate and re-enforce to students the skills and processes required being able to navigate and react to challenges and in locating information in an environment where technology is continually adapting. A Guided Inquiry approach to learning allows students to successfully achieve these outcomes.
Dow, M.I. (2008). Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century. Retrieved from http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/pla/summary/v008/8.3.dow.html From: portal: Libraries and the Academy Volume 8, Number 3, July 2008 pp. 339-340 | 10.1353/pla.0.0010
Dewey, J. (1933). How We Think. Lexington, MA: Health.
FitzGerald, L. (2011). The twin purposes of Guided Inquiry: guiding student inquiry and evidence based practice. Retrieved from www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/…/assets/…/guidedenquiry.pdf
Gardner, H.(1993). Multiple Intellegences: Theory in Practice. A Reader. New York: Basic Books.
Kuhlthau, C. (2010). Guided Inquiry: School Libraries in the 21st Century. School of Communication and Information, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, USA . January 2010, Volume 16, Number 1, 17-28
Kuhlthau, C. & Todd, R. (n.d.). Guided Inquiry. Retrieved from icwc.wikispaces.com/file/view/Guided+Inquiry.doc
Piaget, J. (1970). The Science of Education and the Psychology of the Child. New York: Orion Press.
Vygosgky, L.S. (1978). Mind in Society. the Development of Higher Psychological Processes. (ed. be Cole, M., John Steiner, V., Scribner, S. & Souberman, E.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.