Jul 2

Discussion for September: Dive into Inquiry


Edited: Sep 1

Dive into Inquiry as our first book of the school year. Hopefully it will get you thinking about different ways you can support teachers when they have a research topic to teach. Take a look at the questions below and join in when you can.



There seems to be two links on Amazon I thought I'd post up the links to the cheaper option here:-


.co.uk https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dive-into-Inquiry-Amplify-Learning-ebook/dp/B07NWXK1PJ/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=dive+into+inquiry+elevate+books+edu&qid=1562093232&s=gateway&sr=8-3


.com https://www.amazon.com/Dive-into-Inquiry-Amplify-Learning/dp/1733646825/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=dive+into+inquiry+elevate+books+edu&qid=1559419336&s=gateway&sprefix=dive+into+in&sr=8-1


1. Many of us may not be able to support inquiry learning in our schools did you find anything in this book that would help you start your journey?

I liked the fact that this book was written from a teachers perspective and not a school librarian. I think if you are a librarian and have never got into a classroom this book gives you the ability to talk to teachers about what they might be planning to do and to offer help. I liked the QR codes throughout so that you could see examples but just hope that it gave inspiration for anyone out there thinking they would like to support this to actually be able to do it.

This book was a very different read. It did give me an insight into a teacher's world. I also kept in mind that the book is written in a high school context. Inquiry learning would look very different in a primary school setting (I work in a primary school library).

The process as Trevor explains it will help me refine the help I give teachers. Currently thinking about how I can do this.

The book was really interesting and gave me a lot to think about, but my constant worry was that I do not have any structured contact with students and it would be virtually impossible for me to introduce IBL. I noted that perhaps I could offer my help for the EPQ projects and help students with their research and talk to some staff members, but (from my previous attempts) I know they don't like anything that "takes time" from their teaching.

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Over the years working an SLS librarian (Schools' Library Service) has give me the opportunity to work with many teachers. If one school was not interested there was always another one that was. I have always taught the basic information literacy skills such as keyword searching, creating a good question, searching using online resources and referencing.


More recently I have been working on FOSIL (Framework of Skills for Inquiry Learning). Something that I think Trevor would be interested in because it fits really closely with what he is doing. This has led me to a completely new level of planning with our teachers and looking at the whole inquiry process and not just the research bit.

Currently I assist by pulling topic related print resources, curating some online resources, and requesting assistance from our professional support team to collate digital resources from our databases.

Our school is just moving into Inquiry Learning for some of our units. I will need to touch base with some teachers and pick their brains to gain a better understanding of how they are going to weave this into the curriculum and what inquiry learning looks like in a primary school.


@Annie That is so good to hear! Inquiry learning has so much potential for the school library and librarian. It moves you into the whole curriculum and not just with the English department, literacy and reading. I look forward to hearing what you are up to and if you need help just shout :)

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3. Trevor talks about co-designing in chapter 2. If we don’t have classes can we help teachers to find out more about their students? How can we do this?

I only ever working as a school librarian for a couple of years back in 2008 so it is difficult for me to answer this question. However, as it is all about understanding what your students find interesting I feel that this is a perfect place for a school librarian to collaborate with teachers. Students often talk to the school librarian in a way that they would not always talk to their teacher. If there was a collaboration between teacher and librarian it could be an opportunity to support students more without breaking confidences of course.

@Elizabeth Over the 23 years I worked as a school librarian (I'm not in a school at the moment) I saw many young people who used the library to find information about hobbies and interests. I discovered that some of them had high levels of knowledge and skill in their areas of interest. I think this is the kind of knowledge that the school librarian would be able to share with teaching staff to explore possible inquiry topics. Because we see pupils at breaks and lunch times, we do see a different side to them.

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4. Trevor created a list on p18 about ‘what makes a good teacher’ what would you think students would put on a list for ‘what makes a good school librarian? Do you feel you could use this with a group of your students?

I would love to put this question to a group of students! I am not sure what they would come up with. Anyone willing to give it a go?

I imagine, it would be somebody who knows a lot about YA literature and is able to intuitively recommend books that would suit the individual readers.

We have a "Have Your Say" board - I am going to post this question for the Libraries Week.

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5. On page 28 there is a diagram of different types of inquiry. Do you recognise and use any of them with your students and teachers?

Up until recently I have seen structured, controlled and guided. I have never seen a 'good' free inquiry project. Many just use Google, take pictures and text without credit. I always feel sad when I see posters on classroom walls that suggest this is free inquiry. However I feel more confident with FOSIL that we are going to get something that looks more like free inquiry.

@Elizabeth Yes, the type of "free inquiry" project you describe is all too familiar! A high quality, whole class free inquiry project would be an incredibly time consuming undertaking for both teacher and librarian. I remember being required to resource a project known as RPR (Review of Personal Reading) that students in the Scottish system undertook in connection with qualifications in English in the past. Each student chose their own novel to write about. Providing a sufficient range of books to support this took a sizeable chunk of the library's budget and there was pressure on the teacher's time if a number of students chose novels their teacher hadn't already read. We're now back to whole classes studying the same novel. I think the pressures of the curriculum and lack of resources would make commitment to this type of project on a regular basis very difficult in most schools. The curriculum would really need to be designed around this approach - maybe FOSIL will lead to a shift in thinking. Interesting times!

@bathgatew I agree, school libraries need to be resourced properly in order to support open research. This is also where the school librarian's skills in online research is needed more than ever. We have to make sure that our students have the adequate skills to actually be able to do an in-depth piece of research rather than just assuming they have the necessary skills when what they actually do is Google and take the first answer they get.

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6. If you have already helped with an inquiry project do you think you would be able to talk to your teacher about using some of these ideas?

I think it would be good to share this book with some of my teachers. Especially the part about librarian collaboration :)

I plan on sharing this book with some of my teachers specially since we are moving into inquiry learning.

I plan talking about IBL during my annual review with the Head and the Academic Deputy, offering my expertise and skills. But it all breaks on the fact that I am a solo librarian and there is literally too much to do as it is...

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7. How do you feel your school library would be able to support a free inquiry? Would it be easy or difficult?

Knowing that we would maybe not have the right resources in our school libraries would make it difficult to support free inquiry. This leads students onto the internet which is then difficult to support. However, if we have created the building blocks to going on the internet and using it effectively this should be evident in the finished product. It also opens the opportunity for students to ask the librarian for support in finding resources so this could also be a good thing.

@Elizabeth I think at a primary school level it should be doable. The questions they come up with might not be as varied or 'peculiar' as you would get with high school students. :)

I have been curating online resources for teachers as they teach their regular units - perhaps I should ask teachers to share them with students as well.

I think this would have to be written into the curriculum and the time given for following the steps leading to more independent inquiry; otherwise I can't see that happening.

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8. Trevor talks about collaboration with the school librarian. Does this happen in your school and is there more collaborating to be done?

This does happen in our schools but it is always pushed from the librarian. There are very few teachers that I know who would come and ask for support or to collaborate. I would love this to change.

@Elizabeth This has been my experience, too. I think it's difficult for teachers to imagine how the librarian can collaborate, other than by providing resources. Building good relationships with teachers helps build a foundation for collaboration, and one successful collaboration will lead to more. Difficulty with getting collaboration going may be partly a UK problem. Trevor is writing from a Canadian perspective, with dual qualified teacher librarians in mind. In this context there is ready made common ground between the teacher and the school librarian. This isn't the norm in the UK. My perception over the years has been that school librarians who are also trained teachers (I have known several) have an advantage in this respect. I've often thought that if there was some sort of qualification designed for school librarians, such a postgraduate certificate in educational theory, it might be helpful in enabling us to collaborate more effectively.

@bathgatew Yes! This does make such a difference. I know that there are some universities currently offering modules in teaching that would help but even one module is expensive and there is no certificate at the end of it. I have also heard that there is a pilot at Cambridge university for librarian (not necessarily school librarians) as teachers. The librarians at SLS Guernsey are encouraged to take the City and Guilds level 5 teaching qualification which also helps.

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9. Creating your own question is a tough thing to do and to teach. What tools do you use to teach this?

We talk about open and closed questions. We try using a simple object or picture to generate ideas. I have ordered the two books that are recommended as this is something that I could do with doing better!

I don't teach so this is not something I can answer.

I know our TL (now retired) used to teach students the concepts of open and closed questions as well (fat and thin as she used to call them).


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"The more we make learning visible, the more students will understand the world around them and grasp that they have an important role in it" I love this as it fits perfectly with FOSIL's ethos of enabling children to learn by finding out for themselves.

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