perjantai 14. elokuuta 2015

Guided Inquiry Design and some issues about the Finnish core curriculum change

Thursday and Friday was spent in a much waited workshop in The House of Book, next to Company's Garden in Cape Town. The information literacy and school library sections of IFLA organized a Guided Inquiry Design workshop. There will be a separate blog post about the school libraries, but this is dedicated to Guided Inquiry Design (GID).

The method was already familiar to me but I wanted to get some indepth learning in this method. The GID was this time presented by researchers Ross Todd and Lyn Hay. I will not be going through the model here, but rather taking up issues relating to these two days and how does GID compare with the core curriculum renewal in Finland.

It all twirls around inquiry. This stands in the core of GID and it stands in the middle on teaching. Phenomenon based learning and similar are all going from looking at a phenomenon, posing relevant questions and inquiry based learning.

The present information society is setting more demands to us than the times before. We need to arrange and sort the world around us to understand it. Information is mostly digital. We have a whole generation of children, whose whole life is digitalized; playing, games, communication, enterntainment, and information, which is digitalized and spread across different networks. We can not change this, and therefore we need to work for giving the children and students the tools to manage the information.

This is becoming more and more vital in teaching. Students has this huge information cornucopia in their pockets. Understanding different information sources, comparing them, comparing the facts and making synthesis is the core of constructivist learning. Synthesis is not about listing facts from wikipedia to your presentation or homework.

Guided Inquiry Design is an impressive result of large number of studies done among school children and teenagers in order to help them manage the information and learn from it. It is addressing the information search process (ISP) and the well-known and natural pitfalls in the process. GID was designed to provide an information specialist, librarian/school librarian helping teachers in this path. With this model we can get away from the copy/paste process of making projects and other 'norms' and damaging behaviour we see in working with information.

Some examples: the minute you will guide the students that they need to make a powerpoint presentation about this they go to the computer, open up the program, gives a titel to presentation, and then already the educator has failed, says Ross Todd. This is happening too often. It is the thinking skills that the students are lacking in, not information searching skills. They do find various information, but working with it is not beeing directed or teached.

Of this same reason I have been telling the children stay away from the computer at first. Get your brain going, think! Circle around your subject, think what you do or don't know and start focussing. Mindmap the issue and think of KEYwords/SEARCHwords. Only after that you may enter the internet and search for material with the various search words and their combinations.

We should get away from product oriented thinking (presentation) and concentrate on the learning. What is the learning that has been reached if a primary school student enters the library with a question "I need to make a presentation about classical music." The student is just left on her own by the teacher. Is the techer expecting to get anything else as a reasult as plain simple fact list from the Wikipedia? What has the child really learned? Did she learn to find information?

The student is in a case like this going directly from finding information to so called 'learning'. Or did learning take place? In my research concerning the Finnish core curriculum I have used Christine Bruce's framework of information literacy conceptions. The discourse analysis suggests, that the current Finnish core curriculum has the information source conception and the knowledge creation discourse very visible. But where does the fact refine to knowledge? What happens in the middle? The process discource is poorly visible in the core curriculum of 2004.

GID is about learning to learn. It is a fundamental method of thinking, which can be implemented in which ever school subject. It is about deep learning happening along the process, which is leading to an outcome, learning (and possibly a presentation in some form). Learning to learn, lifelong learning, a fundamental method to be implemented to which ever subject.

We in Finland at least have during the last weeks seen a lot of VERY badly formulated web-discussion of people letting their feelings and prejudises take over. We would all need these skills, no matter what age, argumentation skills are the key to a constructive discussion instead of flashing out.

1 kommentti:

  1. Glad to see you recognize that Guided Inquiry is about learning. Students learn how they learn through the process, and that transfers to every part of life in today's information age in which we live. I like your idea of staying away from the computer at first! That's why we Open with objects, images and concepts. Then Immerse is in an experience, most likely outside of the school environment and into the community where students take a "hands on look" at a concept or idea. Then they can come back and begin with creating those search terms before they explore more widely.
    Guided Inquiry is a learning centered instructional design, where learning takes the front stage in everything we are considering about the unit of study. Third Space then helps students actualize an area of interest which drives the process. Deep learning is a result of the synthesis of ideas once students have identified a clear path to what they want to study (about music, to use your example) Thank you for posting your reflection on Guided Inquiry. All of our reflections accumulate to a wonderful web of connections around this type of global learning essential for the age in which we live. Thank you!