Guided inquiry

Image: Indianapolis Central Library by Serge Melki on Flickr

Guided inquiry provides a framework for collaborative planning between school library staff and teachers, to support students as they attempt to work through and select from the vast amount of information available today.

Contents

Guided inquiry and the school library
Inquiry and guided inquiry summary table
Guided inquiry in practice: a unit on Whaling
References
Further reading

Guided inquiry and the school library

The library contribution to student learning is a collaborative one. Key thinkers who describe and support the school library contribution to 21st century literacy under the “Guided Inquiry” umbrella include

  • Ross Todd
  • Carol Kuhlthau
  • David Loertscher

Guided inquiry provides a framework for integrating the school library staff into collaborative planning processes with teachers. Guided inquiry advocates for the use of planned interventions frameworks in school libraries to support students as they attempt to come to grips with the avalanche of information that is available to students in the 21st century.

Carol Kuhlthau makes a strong case to actively recognise the need to support students emotionally as they attempt to participate in the information to knowledge process. Numerous studies have shown that many students have felt abandoned and unsupported when they have been expected to do their research.

Inquiry and guided inquiry summary table

Inquiry and Guided Inquiry summary table illustrating how Guided Inquiry fits with Inquiry learning.

Guided inquiry chart

Above is a typical example of an Inquiry Learning framework – based on the Kath Murdoch model.

Table: Inquiry* / Guided inquiry

Note: Inquiry is not a process model.

Guided inquiry in practice: a unit on Whaling

Key points to note for Whaling example are:

  • 21st century literacy: Example encourages students to consider the number of points of view before coming to their own conclusions, including historical and modern New Zealand viewpoints and current New Zealand and Japanese viewpoints about whaling. A planned sequence of resources are used (Guided Inquiry) within a broader Inquiry framework to support students to come to their own conclusions.
  • Multiliteracy: Example encourages the planned use of a variety of resources and communication formats.
  • Inquiry approach: Guided Inquiry framework complements planned Inquiry approach
  • New Zealand Curriculum: Reflects the Thinking: critical thinking Key Competency as well as the Values

Whaling example of Guided inquiry (PPT)

References

  • Kuhlthau, Carol C, and Maniotes, Leslie K. (January 2010) Building Guided Inquiry Teams for 21st-Century Learners. School Library Monthly, XXVI:5. Accessed online May 2010.
  • Guided Inquiry, Strategies for Teaching in the 21st Century : a Slideshare presentation by Carol Kuhlthau. Workshop, IASL 2009.; See Slide 9 for Kuhlthau's model of the information search process.
  • McKenzie, Jamie. (2009). Beyond cut and paste, engaging students in making good new ideas. FNO Press.
  • Kuhlthau, Carol C., Maniotes, Leslie K., and Caspari, Anne K. (2007). Guided Inquiry Learning in the 21st century. Libraries Unlimited.
  • Loertscher, David V., Koechlin, Carol and Zwaan, Sandi. (2005) Ban those bird units: 15 models for teaching and learning in information-rich and technology-rich environments. Hi Willow Research & Publishing.
  • Loertscher, David V., Koechlin, Carol and Zwaan, Sandi. (2007) Beyond bird units, 18 models for teaching and learning in information-rich and technology-rich environments. Hi Willow Research & Publishing.

Further reading

  • CISSL: Centre for International Scholarship in School Libraries, Rutgers University, US. Research themes link to an outline of work undertaken by Dr Ross Todd and Dr Carol Kuhlthau on Guided Inquiry, integrating the school library and its staff into collaborative processes with teachers, to support students as they undertake their inquiry research.
  • School Libraries, now more than ever. In this 2010 Position Paper from CISSL, Dr Ross Todd and Dr Carol Gordon argue that “schools without libraries are at risk of becoming irrelevant”. Citing five decades of research that confirm the key role played by school libraries in raising student achievement, the authors summarise the role of the library in the information search process, the impact of the school library on students’ reading, and the critical instructional role of the school librarian in helping students develop literacies to make sense of the information they encounter.
  • SLJ Summit: Librarians as Leaders of 21st Century Learning: Here Dr Ross Todd explores the powerful relationship between media specialists and 21st century skills…"With widespread advances in technology and communications, increased global competition, and everything from financial meltdowns to global warming…[in] a world 20 years from now…the basic skills that students would need to thrive include creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, and communication and collaboration, as well as digital literacy, information literacy, and career and life skills.”
  • The Colorado Education Initiative, Next Generation Learning: part of the Colorado Education Initiative, which helps educators define learning, share resources and coolaborate..
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