According to Kuhlthau and Maniotes (2010), a minimum of 3 members is required for an instructional team when undertaking guided inquiry tasks, with the option of bringing in further expert members when required. Whilst a classroom teacher and teacher librarian working together can be arranged, bringing in a third core member into this team would certainly pose challenges regarding time tabling issues. However, (and I’m coming from a high school perspective here) the cross curricular emphasis in the new syllabuses certainly lends itself to this sort of thing.
Having all 3 members present at the same time during the inquiry process might be much trickier to arrange. Technology could be harnessed to address this in a variety of ways. Pre-recorded help could be made ready by the various expert members and then produced when the available members thought they were necessary. Additional experts could be brought in virtually. The problem with both of these is that the assistance would be static and not necessarily meet the exact needs of the students. Scheffers (2008) mentions the use of connected classrooms – joining up with classes at other schools. In Sheerman’s (2011) account only the teacher librarian and classroom teacher were involved in each lesson of the guided inquiry project.
The experiences of Caddies Creek and Broughton Anglican College were certainly very encouraging. Students and teachers alike seemed to find the projects beneficial. Fitzgerald (2011) notes that guided inquiry serves a dual purpose – it is useful gathering evidence as well as beneficial for student learning. This is a strong incentive for teacher librarians.
Fitzgerald, L. (2011). The twin purposes of Guided Inquiry: Guiding student inquiry and evidence based practice. Scan, 30(1), 26-41.
Kuhlthau, C. K. and Maniotes, L. K. (2010). Building Guided Inquiry Teams for 21st-Century Learners. School Library Monthly, 26(5), 18.
Scheffers, J. (2008). Guided inquiry: A learning journey. Scan, 27(4), 34-42.
Sheerman, A. (2011). Accepting the challenge: Evidence based practice at Broughton Anglican College. Scan, 30(2), 24-33.