I spent last weekend working with a roomful of very clever people. We were discussing Inquiry Based Learning in the Social Sciences, Social Studies and History & Geography Curricula in Ontario and how challenging many people are finding this shift in pedagogy.
As a Teacher Librarian, I am familiar with the Inquiry Process and I’m absolutely thrilled that we are now being explicitly encouraged to embed the process in our teaching practice with these revised curricula. This is such a wonderful convergence of the work of the TL and the classroom teacher! It supports the ideas of co-planning, co-teaching, co-assessment, and co-reflection and encourages classroom teachers to collaborate with the TL in the Library Learning Commons.
The key to this process is helping our learners develop good questions that will encourage them to engage directly with meaningful learning. The TL can support and guide students with digital and traditional resources, searching strategies, lessons about bias and fair use of information, support in the use of a variety of technologies and more. Both the classroom teacher and TL have to take on the role of guide and allow students the time (the four letter word) to explore and think.
I think the biggest challenge will be convincing my colleagues that inquiry does not have to be the massive ISU assignment but can be broken down into smaller, relevant experiences that will help guide our learners deeper into the Inquiry Process. It’s an interesting journey. One that is supported by the OSLA Document Together for Learning and one that I can’t wait to begin!