Another argument to support a simple approach in the early childhood classroom was found in a tweet that linked to a blog by The Effortful Educator. In this blog, it is argued that as novice learners learn differently from experts (young children are novices) and so introducing complex learning processes just creates cognitive overload. The author argues to ‘keep it simple’. Good advice for me as a teacher and a learner!
A thought-provoking counter-claim to the benefits of inquiry based learning by John Hattie on YouTube, in which he interprets the low-effect of inquiry based learning as an indication that this teaching strategy can be used far too early in schools. Hattie convincingly argues that educators need to be sure the child’s conceptual knowledge and vocabulary are sound before embarking on the complex tasks inquiry learning engenders. This is a very grounding reminder to early childhood educators to make choices about pedagogy that are developmentally appropriate for young minds. Hattie states, "One of the arts is to know when to introduce inquiry based learning."
Researchers in Michigan show that project-based learning in high-poverty communities can produce statistically significant gains in social studies and informational reading. There are some insightful comments about how important teacher understanding is to the implementation of problem-based learning. I feel this article is a good reminder that just going through the surface level activities of problem-based learning won't guarantee improved results in high-poverty schools. Schools need to be educated on the benefits and nuts-and-bolts of this process.
This article by Beth Holland on Mindshift, argues strongly that teachers need to teach students how to develop digital note-taking systems, such as one note. She argues that the unique nature of digital note taking platforms offer opportunities for students to make conceptual connections in a more seamless and efficient way. Additionally, video and images can be embedded for easy reference, and search tools can locate those half-remembered quotes or misplaced notes. As an official organise-on-the-run kind of gal, this search function really appeals to me and I'll happily try digital note-taking! Not sure if I'd try using a digital note-taking platform in the early years in Prep to year 3, but I dare say year 4 and above would really benefit.
This is an attractive, well-researched site that champions using visible thinking in classrooms. The authors of Project Zero argue for using the same thinking routines with children on multiple occasions throughout the year, and to keep the routine simple and familiar. As an early childhood teacher this approach resonates strongly with me.
In this professional article, secondary school English teacher Ilona McLean details her use of visible thinking routines in her lessons after completing the "Making Thinking Visible" online course run by Harvard University . She emphasises the need to use simple routines, such as 'see-think-wonder', multiple times throughout the year in order to develop a 'culture of thinking' in the classroom. I appreciated her examples of student thinking as it really made the point she was making quite clear. Also, this article lead me to find the useful Project Zero site. McLean, Ilona. How to make thinking visible in your English classroom and encourage deep learning [online]. Metaphor, No. 1, 2017: 15-19. Linked to paywall.
In this scholarly article, Mandy Lupton analyses Version 6 of the Australian Curriculum for inquiry skills embedded in various subjects and two of the general capabilities (Lupton, 2014. p. 9). Though we are currently at the tail end of Version 7.5, Lupton's analysis is very informative for aspiring teacher librarians, focusing on questioning frameworks and information literacy. I found the explanation of inquiry learning as a pedagogy with three main elements, questioning frameworks, information literacy and the research cycle, (Lupton, p. 9) to be highly informative. An interesting thing to note, from an early childhood teachers perspective, is the differences Lupton noted in terminology between the questioning stages of science, history and geography in the early years (Lupton, p. 12). Lupton, Mandy (2014) Inquiry skills in the Australian Curriculum v6 : a bird’s-eye view. Access, 28(4), pp. 8-29.
In this article, Lupton examines teacher librarians understandings of inquiry learning situated within two categories; student-centred investigation or a teaching a process (Lupton, 2015, p. 18). There is a great table on p21 outlining the dimensions of these two categories which provide for thought. As an aspiring teacher librarian at the very beginning of my journey, I found this article to be highly informative and instructive; in both the outlines of the differing methodologies and the practice-based examples from teacher and teacher librarians. Lupton makes a strong case for the role of teacher librarians in advocating inquiry learning based on inquiry process models. This is a short preview of the document. Your library or institution may give you access to the complete full text for this document in ProQuest.