Action – Stations are the go!

Action is the foundational key to all success.Pablo Picasso

Research undertaken during Phase 1 of the ILA enabled me to gather important data that was used to guide and scaffold further learning. This data was shared with the learning team that consisted of the two classroom teachers and myself. Assessment “should form the backbone of your planning and inform your teaching and learning decisions” (Wilson, 2013, p. 72) so using the results from Question 5 in Questionnaire 1 the learning team was able to respond to the common needs of the cohort.  This initial survey guided what we now knew about students’ thinking, research skills and research behaviours. Commonly identified areas of difficulty after the initial survey were;

  • Researching in books
  • Using the internet
  • Using images
  • Asking questions
  • Using encyclopaedias
  • Working when noisy
Importantly “children develop higher-order thinking through guidance at critical points in the learning process” (Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari, 2007, p.25) and therefore as an extension to the normal classroom learning environment (consisting of class teachers and curriculum support staff) I was able to provide point of intervention support as required over all three phases of the ILA. This table describes the learning content, time and groupings that were used to enhance the learning process when “targeting specific areas of concern and providing intensive intervention” (Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari, 2007, p.27) and makes reference to the general capabilities and learning areas in ACARA.
Table 1 - Action taken

Table 1 – Action taken

During this inquiry process there were two main areas of responsibility; resources and internet usage.  This is supported by Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari who view the school librarian as an “indispensable member of the instructional team” (2007, p.57). Inquiry learning is  “the most challenging part of the role, requiring many skills, including intuition, insight, collaboration, flexibility and at times, enormous amounts of persistance” (Green, 2012, p.19). The information search process undertaken in this inquiry was not specific and the ILA was a busy time where small groups of students were working independently making this a perfect time to intervene and support the learning.

The Information Process (ISP) used was loosely based upon New South Wales ISP. Support was required during the locating, selecting and organising stages of the inquiry. As internet usage was the greatest area of difficulty I set about planning a whole class introduction to search engines during Phase 1 of the ILA. Demonstrations of Duck Duck Go, Quinturakids and Zuula were then presented and students had time to research in small groups or individually using computer nodes and iPads in the Discovery Centre. This lesson was followed by another informative session for the whole class based upon web site evaluation. We used Kathy Scrock’s The 5 W’s of Web Site Evaluation and made the Who, What, Why, When, Where and Why into a puzzle that groups put back together. The ICT capabilities of students has improved and can be seen graphically in the results. Using the internet was the easiest thing to do when students answered question 5 in Questionnaire 3 the second survey undertaken in the ILA.

The second area of difficulty identified from Questionnaire 1 was that of researching in books. Todd, Kuhlthau and Heinström recognise that during this time “instructional interventions typically focus on establishing information quality and relevance” (2005, p. 17) and  guided inquiry is more than just finding information. During Phase 1 and 2 I was able to directly teach students how to use the contents and index pages in non fiction materials. The students were introduced to a information, source, page (I.S.P.) graphic organiser that we used to explicitly teach referencing. There was always time made for individuals who needed support with the location of resources in the Discovery Centre. Independent student use of the OPAC was good but some reminders of the geographical book locations was needed due to the age group of the students and the fact that these students were accessing non fiction resources from the main collection not just the Junior Room, some for the first time.

The actions taken enabled students to become independent learners who were able to collaborate, make meaningful connections and respond with authenticity to transform their learning. I attended Jeni Wilson’s recent Melbourne based PD on Activate Inquiry where the idea of small workshops that students can elect to do was introduced to me. Wilson strongly links meta-cognition to self-management and inquiry. Intervention is not just teacher directed but needs to be student centred Importantly “intervention strategies that foster reflection for deep understanding and basic inquiry abilities” (Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari, 2007, p.146) are valuable and this process of professional reflection has helped me to better understand inquiry as a “messy process” (Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari, 2012, p.2) and as Edna Sackson writes, inquiry can sound like chaos to those who don’t know about it!


Green, G. (2012). Inquiry and learning : what can IB show us about inquiry? [online]. Access; v.26 n.2 p.19-21; June 2012. Availability: <;dn=193381;res=AEIPT&gt;

Image retrieved from

Kuhlthau, C.C., Maniotes, L. K. & Caspari, A.K. (2012). Chapter 1: Guided Inquiry Design: The Process, the Learning, and the Team. In Kuhlthau, C. C. ; Maniotes, L. K. & Caspari, A.K. Guided inquiry design : a framework for inquiry in your school. Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhlthau, C. C.,  Maniotes, L. K. & Caspari, A. K. (2007). Chapter 2: The Theory and Research Basis for Guided Inquiry. In Kuhlthau, C. C. ; Maniotes, L. K. & Caspari, A. K. Guided inquiry : learning in the 21st century. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited

Todd, R., Kuhlthau, C.C. & Heinstrom, J.E. (2005). School Library Impact Measure. A Toolkit and Handbook for Tracking and Assessing Student Learning Outcomes of Guided Inquiry Through The School Library. Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries, Rutgers University. Retrieved August 6th, 2013 from

Wilson, J. (2013). Activate Inquiry: The what ifs and the why nots. Education Services Australia, Carlton South.

Standards for the 21st century Learner

Comparative Essay – AASL vs Australia

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

There is a wide variety of educational standards and continua available in educational settings. The development of the Australian Curriculum gives insight into the creative and critical thinking skills used in our schools today and is a relevant and up to date document. The Critical and Creative Thinking Learning F-10 Continuum will be compared with the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Standards for the 21st century learner. The purpose of this essay is to contrast the inquiry search process, dispositions and skills used and the responsibilities learners bring with them.

Firstly, the AASL standards document a very strong inquiry approach to learning. There are four stages that share similarities with many inquiry based models. Stage one begins with an inquiry based process where recognition to prior learning is made apparent. There is a strong questioning framework that continues into stage two. Stage two looks at analysis, synthesis, evaluation and organisation again representing the strength in the ISP. There is recognition of learning dispositions and skills where the learner is displaying initiative and engagement by posing questions. This demonstrated the importance of divergent and convergent thinking where information literacy is as important as “attitudes, emotions, values, ethics and motivation, are (also) critical in how they apply their understanding via the cognitive and practical skills” (Treadwell, 2008, p. 63). Logically the responsibilities all learners share are incorporated in stage three and four with respect to others and global perspectives also included. The ethical issues surrounding copyright and ICT responsibilities are importantly made a part of this four step process where students ultimately “pursue personal and aesthetic growth” (AASL, p. 4).

The second document to consider is the Australian Curriculum Creative and Critical Thinking F-10 Continuum. This too has four aspects but has been tabulated into levels that correlate into years (foundation to Year 10) across the Australian Curriculum. There is reference to a clear inquiry process similar to the AASL standards however; this is described in a simplified manner in comparison. Kuhlthau’s ISP stages can be likened to these easily, as can be seen in the table below. There is less emphasis placed upon learning dispositions in this document and sees this reflected in stage three where “thinking about thinking (metacognition)”(2010, p. 2) is referred to. Thinking skills need to be explicitly taught and reinforced so that they become habits as learning “dispositions have a multiplying effect on the ability of the learner to build knowledge into understanding and hence increase the capability for creativity and innovation” (Treadwell, 2008, p. 64). The last aspect of responsibilities is not clearly articulated in this document and relies upon the justification of the conclusions made.

Kuhlthau’s ISP Stages




Inquire think critically and gain knowledge

Inquiring – identifying, exploring & organising information & ideas



Draw conclusions, make informed decision, apply knowledge to new situations & create new knowledge


Generate ideas, possibilities & actions


Reflecting on thinking and processes


Share knowledge & participate ethically & productively as members of our democratic society


Pursue personal and aesthetic growth

Analysing, synthesising & evaluating reasoning & procedures

These two documents demonstrate a “research approach to learning” (Kuhlthau, 2010, p.2) and are both learner centered where there is commitment to the “construction of new knowledge in the stages of the inquiry process to gain personal understanding and transferable skills” (ibid., p. 5). There is clearly an importance placed upon information literacy in both documents and this is echoed strongly by AASL who included ethics and responsibilities. Both the AASL and ACARA documents looks at metacognition as can be seen by their use of ISPs as outlined in the table above. These standards and continua demonstrate that no matter what the curriculum content they are motivated to “learn subject area content and habits of mind through strategic interventions that enable them to make the learning their own” (Kuhlthau, 2010, p.8).


Kuhlthau, C. (2010). Guided inquiry : school libraries in the 21st century. School Libraries Worldwide, 16(1), 1-12.

Standards for the 21st Century learner. (n.d.). Retrieved September 10, 2013, from http://w:

Thinking Curriculum (n.d.). Retrieved September 10, 2013, from

Treadwell, M. (2008). The Conceptual Age and the Revolution School 2.0. Heatherton: Hawker Brownlow Education.