I feel like I’ve been working up to this year’s action plan for quite a while. In some way, the majority of my past plans have come at the issue it is designed to address, in different ways.
Information literacy instruction in Grade 9, leveraging learning partnerships, and increasing my use of feedback in one-shot library instruction were all aspects of the same problem which, when stated as a ‘how might we,’ would go something like this: how might we ensure students have the research skills they need, when they need them?
As we always say at Cohort, it’s all about getting in front of the right question. So I was so excited to tackle this thorny one in the most direct way I could think of: through an overhaul of our library’s scope and sequence. My goal for the end of this school year is vertically integrated research skill instruction that takes into account what students are being asked to do and learn across divisions and departments, resulting in a scope and sequence that reflects (and directs!) what we really do day-to-day. Not too lofty at all… 😉
To that end, I have finessed the wording of the ‘how might we’ that I’ll be using this year to how might we grow students’ competencies as researchers holistically across divisions and departments? The change in wording, I hope, will shift the emphasis to student learning and from skill acquisition to the development of core competencies that students recognize apply in multiple contexts.
So, where am I at in this not-so-humble undertaking? I’ve performed some small experiments thus far – interviewing students about their perspective, reviewing our current scope and sequence as well as library IL frameworks and standards, and reaching out to our department heads about their research assignments in compulsory courses.
I’m currently working on developing some shared language around the inquiry process, wading through curriculum documents, mapping assignments onto our scope and sequence to assess gaps, and looking for exemplars across divisions and departments. In short, I’m in the weeds. There are the ever-present time constraints, the complexities of collaborating with busy teachers, and that feeling of building the plane while you’re flying it. But I am also working on getting comfortable with discomfort and I’m so grateful for this supportive community. So, if you’ve ever been involved in this kind work at your school, please let me know in the comments! If you’re willing to share any of your school’s research or library scope and sequence documents, let’s talk!