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Focus on Inquiry - Learning together

Updated: Jan 20

I have been running #LibraryStaffLoveLearning since January 2018 and I have posted many different monthly suggestions for professional development, hoping to inspire and encourage school library staff to learn together. The initial aim was to make myself read more for my own #PD but I also wanted to discuss what I was reading so creating a discussion group which allowed me to think critically about what I was learning. I have been delighted by the number of people from all over the world who have chosen to join in some of the discussions. Some have really pushed my learning and understanding to a new level and I felt it was time to do something a little different.

After a conversation with Darryl Toerien, founder of FOSIL, he suggested that I offer some free CPD by using a publication that is freely downloadable and really explains how to teach inquiry. I loved the idea so for the next three months, I have decided to focus on one publication and wanted to explain why and how this will work.

Let's do something different!

As some of you may know, I have become very interested in the role of school librarians in inquiry learning. I have been working with Darryl Toerien, founder of FOSIL (Framework Of Skills for Inquiry Learning) for the last 7 years, learning and understanding how school librarians can use this to support their own student's learning. I have recently been finding out more about the IFLA School Library Guidelines and how this document can support school librarians in a way that gives them focus and purpose. This is the only document that I have seen that can truly enable school librarians to have a collective voice in saying this is what professional school librarians do. What I like about this publication is that although many school librarians are nowhere near this level, it gives us an ideal, something to work towards and something for us all to talk about and share.

This led to a summer of unpacking the IFLA School Library Guidelines, specifically chapter 5, through a series of webinars, which focus on the programmes and activities of the school library. What I have begun to understand is that FOSIL is the outworking of chapter 5, which is exciting. We have a tool that can place the school library front and centre into teaching and learning and a document based on nearly 60 years of research explaining and supporting the role of the school librarian.

It is therefore important to make sure that school librarians understand why inquiry is important and how to teach it. Focus on Inquiry does exactly that. It was written by Dr Jennifer Branch-Mueller and Dr Dianne Oberg in 2004 which laid the foundation for education in Alberta and not only that, Dr Dianne Oberg was the co-editor of the IFLA School Library Guidelines, which makes this a really a useful document and the link to bringing this all together undeniable. This publication is not only free but also has a teacher guide, it really unpacks what inquiry is in a way that will help school librarians talk to teachers about how they can work alongside them.

What will we be discussing?

The first four chapters give us an introduction to inquiry. Giving school librarians a real opportunity to read discuss and understand for themselves what inquiry is and how it links with the curriculum. To check out part one of this discussion click here.

Chapter 1: Building a Culture of Inquiry.

Chapter 2: A Model for Inquiry

Chapter 3: Curriculum Connections

Chapter 4: Designing Inquiry Activities

In November we moved on to chapter 5 - 11 reflecting on how to teach all of the stages. To check out this discussion click here. Chapter 5: How Do I Teach Reflecting on the Process?

Chapter 6: How Do I Teach Phase 1—Planning?

Chapter 7: How Do I Teach Phase 2—Retrieving?

Chapter 8: How Do I Teach Phase 3—Processing?

Chapter 9: How Do I Teach Phase 4—Creating?

Chapter 10: How Do I Teach Phase 5—Sharing?

Chapter 11: How Do I Teach Phase 6—Evaluating?

In December we reflected on chapters 12 and 13 - It is important to think ahead.

To check out this discussion click here.

Chapter 12: Thinking Ahead

Chapter 13: Professional Growth

How does this work?

At the beginning of each month, I posted a set of questions for you to consider. These have been created by Darryl and myself to generate discussion. All you have to do is read the relevant chapters and then join the forum chat at the beginning of each month when you can. (These discussions are always open so you can still take part if you wish)

How can you take part?

To take part in any of my discussions, you need to be registered on my website to comment. Just click on any of the login buttons you see on my website and I will approve you. Then check out the discussions on my #LibraryStaffLoveLearning page to see all discussions over the last few years.

UPDATE! On January 13th we ran a free webinar discussion group with the co-authors of Focus on Inquiry, Dr Dianne Oberg and Dr Jennifer Branch-Mueller. We recorded the session which you can freely watch and you can read the discussion that took place here.

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