A+ Education – an Aussie database. Mate.

Table demonstrating order of search strings and their development.
Table demonstrating order of search strings and their development.

Research question: How can the library facilitate inquiry learning?

I started this search with what I have decided will be my default search string [(“Inquiry learning” OR “guided inquiry” OR “inquiry based learning”) AND (librarian OR library) AND (“secondary school” OR “high school”)]. My searching is becoming quite refined and more efficient. I am not wasting time trying various search strings anymore; I have narrowed down my search terms. I have also discarded the term ‘supporting’ in my searches. As far as I’m concerned, the librarian runs inquiry learning! They don’t just support it.

This search proved to be successful. This returned six highly-relevant investigations into inquiry-learning practice in Australian libraries. Unfortunately, two results were unavailable online, but I still have four to work with which is excellent. The results I found were:

  • Heinstrom, J. and Todd, R. J. Uncertainty and guidance : school students’ feelings, study approaches, and need for help in inquiry projects. Scan; v.25 n.3 p.29-35; August 2006.
  • James, R. Feasting’s a boar : the guided inquiry research approach in practice. Synergy; v.6 n.1 p.47-48; 2008.
  • Sheerman, Alinda. Accepting the challenge : evidence based practice at Broughton Anglican College. Scan; v.30 n.2 p.24-33; May 2011.
  • Fitzgerald, L. Investigating guided inquiry : a beginning. [online]. Scan; v.26 n.2 p.30-37; May 2007.
  • Wilma, K. & Turnbaull, M. (2009). ‘Learning communities at Year 7, 8 and 9 : using UbD and guided inquiry towards shared understandings and authentic learning.’ [Unavailable online]
  • Pick, A. & Schutz, H. (2007). ‘Raising profiles : an investigation into teacher awareness of information literacy and strategies for increasing understanding of the concept and the role of the teacher librarian.’ [Unavailable Online]

Research question: What is the role of the teacher in inquiry learning?
Research question: How can inquiry learning be included in the English classroom?

My next search was an attempt to find the ‘role’ of the teacher in inquiry learning, particularly in English [(“Inquiry learning” OR “guided inquiry” OR “inquiry based learning”) AND teacher AND English AND (“secondary school” OR “high school”) NOT Science]. This is a topic I had been largely unsuccessful in finding any information on using Google and Google Scholar. A+ Education was able to find two resources: “Raising profiles : an investigation into teacher awareness of information literacy and strategies for increasing understanding of the concept and the role of the teacher librarian” (Pick, A. 2007) and “Boys learning through ICT” (Ruffles, D. 2005). These two appear to be general across all learning areas, and so I assume the strategies would be transferable to English. However, neither was available online. Furthermore, both articles were written about 8-10 years ago, and due to the ever-evolving nature of ICT, I would regard them to be largely out of date anyway.

So far in my searching I have failed to find any academic results specific to inquiry methodology in English. I have also been quite unsuccessful in being able to identify the ‘role’ of the teacher in supporting inquiry learning activities, while the research is very strong in the role of the librarian. From this I am starting to gather that effective inquiry learning really needs to include a teacher-librarian. Without the information literacy expertise, the activity is just an outcome that tests content-knowledge, with little consideration of the process.

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