Annotated Bibliography

photo credit: petahopkins via photopin cc

photo credit: petahopkins via photopin cc


Carroll, K. (2012). Learning design and inquiry in Australian history classrooms. In C. Alexander. J, Dalziel, J. Kraijka & E. Dobozy (Eds.), Teaching English with Technology, Special Edition on LAMS and Learning design volume 3, 12 (2), 36-50,

This article presents findings from a study into how new technology affects pedagogy, especially in relation to delivering the new Australian Curriculum: History. In her introduction, the author states that ‘Integral to inquiry learning design is the teacher’s pedagogical perspective’ (Carroll, p36). The multiple-site case study design was conducted over four schools in Sydney, Australia. Each site had similar socio-economic, cultural and geographical attributes. They were also chosen for their capacity to integrate ICT. The research design aimed to understand the context, experiences and pedagogical perspectives of the different teachers. Interviews, site observations and document analyses were conducted and coded to reveal the main themes and produce findings. The case studies identified the ‘transformative potential for ICT rich pedagogy for the History classroom’ (Carroll, p48) and the author concluded that pedagogy of inquiry based learning within History, and the integrated use of ICT, support students in higher-order thinking; to locate, organise, manipulate and evaluate sources critically; and to communicate their learning.

This article is useful as it places inquiry learning in the context of the Australian Curriculum: History and provides evidence for best practice. The author refers to research and papers produced before the development of the Australian Curriculum: History, and is based on the work of Taylor & Young (2004) in their book Making History: a Guide for the Teaching and Learning of History in Australian Schools.

While the focus of this article is ICT, the author supplies sound evidence for inquiry based learning to be a part of presenting the Australian Curriculum: History. The author also supplies useful references to pursue for background information on the teaching of History in Australia.  A very useful article for my research into arguements for best practice delivery of the new History curriculum.

Chu, S. (2008). Grade 4 Students’ Development of Research Skills Through Inquiry-Based Learning Projects. School Libraries Worldwide, 14(1), 10-37. Retrieved from ProQuest Education Journals. Retrieved from

This article reports the findings of a case study after two phases of inquiry based learning projects were undertaken by 141 year four students in local Hong Kong primary schools. Students were surveyed and teachers, the Principal and parents were interviewed. The researchers were interested in the role teaching staff and parents have in the development of student’s knowledge and research skills in an inquiry based learning project. Results from both the surveys and the interviews indicated that the students’ research skills were greatly improved as a result of participating in inquiry based learning, and that collaboration between the classroom teaching staff and the school librarian had a positive impact on equipping students with the knowledge and skills required to conduct an inquiry based learning project. The researchers developed a four step model of students’ knowledge-cultivation process. They were able to clarify the explicit role that the school librarian has in supporting students through that process.

Although the sample size for this study was small, this research can be added to already existing research results that show an improvement in student learning through participating in collaboratively developed and presented inquiry learning projects.  This article provides my research with evidence for the arguement that History should be taught in a setting that allows students collaboratively guided opportunities for active learning.

Chu, S. K. W., Tse, S. K., Loh, E. K. Y., & Chow, K. (2011). Collaborative inquiry project-based learning: Effects on reading ability and interests. Library & Information Science Research, 33(3), 236-243.
Retrieved from

This article presents the findings of a case study into the impact of a collaboratively developed and delivered inquiry based approach to project-based learning on the reading abilities and interest of students. The study used a flexible team approach for collaboration, based on the work of Carol Kuhlthau. Participants were 132 year four students, 11 teachers and 25 parents.
The learning activity involved two phases, with the students participating in a group research project in each phase. Students were tested using a standard reading test before and after the two phases were completed. Teachers, students and parents also completed surveys and were interviewed. Student reading performance and attitudes improved after the inquiry project based learning projects.

This article collaborates with previous research I have found, to provide quantitative and qualitative evidence for the academic benefits of a collaboratively developed and presented inquiry based approach to student learning.

Green, N., Reitano, P., Dixon, M. (2010). Teaching and Learning History in Primary Schools: Pedagogical Shifts, Complexities and Opportunities. The International Journal of Learning, 17 (8), 307-320.

This article’s focus is to outline the context of History in the Australian curriculum pre-National Curriculum, and compare the existing New South Wales Human Society and Its Environment curriculum to the Draft Australian Curriculum: History. Through analysis and discussion there is a review of the literature on historical literacy, pedagogical approaches, teacher identity, perceived capabilities of learners and primary school educators’ discipline knowledge. The literature review for each of these sections raises new questions. The pedagogical approach of teaching historical literacy through a ‘reconstructionist’ approach is discussed and is linked to the need for teachers of history to have deep content knowledge – raising the question of how this impacts on primary and early childhood teachers who, unlike secondary teachers, do not specialize in any one area of the curriculum.

Opportunities for further research are included, and are relevant to readers pursuing further information on best practice in presenting the Australian curriculum: History.  The focus on deep content knowledge is especially pertinent to my research, as I see this as extremely important to the successful delivery of the Australian Curriculum: History.  Teachers are less equipped to guide students through a process of historical inquiry if they are not able to see the ‘whole picture’.

Henderson, D. J. (2012). Engaging students in historical thinking: implementing the Australian curriculum: History. Primary and Middle Years Educator, 10(1), 3-11.

The author of this article presents arguments for best practice pedagogical approaches to the Australian Curriculum: History. The author’s intention is to present ways that teachers can best teach the curriculum. Strategies suggested include providing opportunities for the development of historical concepts, knowledge and skills through inquiry learning within depth and overview studies. It is argued that this is because the very practice of history ‘involves a process of inquiry into phenomena such as events, emotions and thoughts, for example, that no longer exist’ (Henderson, p4). The author also refers to the nature of historical knowledge that students already bring to the history classroom.This connects with many inquiry models, which place emphasis on students accessing prior knowledge in the early stages of their inquiry.

The arguments in this article are useful for my research as I wish to put together a group of evidence for the pedagogy of inquiry when teaching the Australian Curriculum: History.

Kiem, P. (2012). Have we lost the plot? Narrative, inquiry, good and evil in history pedagogy. Agora, 47(4), 28-32.
Retrieved from;res=AEIPT;dn=195741.

The author of this article intends to challenge, what he feels has been previously unchallenged, the assumption that direct teaching is ‘bad’ and student-centred style inquiry learning is ‘good’. He states that there is a lack of diversity in the discourse about history pedagogy. The author notes that ‘inquiry based’ is alluded to in the Australian Curriculum: History, but argues that this is left open to differing interpretations around the country. The author asks if source based inquiry learning causes history students to ‘perceive an incoherent array of bits and pieces resulting from their own inquiry and endless discussion complicated by unresolved issues?’ (Kiem, p30); and if this type of learning is catering for all types of learners – active and passive, for example.

This article certainly provides some food for thought, and is unique amongst the many sources to be found expounding the benefits of an inquiry based approach in teaching history. The author does call for the need for balance and states that ‘effective learning is ultimately dependent upon good teaching and good teachers will inspire using any approach’ (p32). I don’t think you would find anyone who would disagree with that.

This article adds to my portfolio as it is always important keep an open mind.  Many teachers today roll their eyes as new policies and approaches come along.  Many have seen it all before and comment that policy makers tend to ‘throw the baby out with the bath water’.  In any pedagogical approach it is important to have balance, and this article reminds us of that.

Gourley, B. (2008). INQUIRY: The road less traveled. Knowledge Quest, 37(1), 18-23. Retrieved from

This article describes the development and use of the ‘Inquiry Cycle’ process model of inquiry learning. The author describes factors leading to its development and lists the combination of ideas on which it was based (Barbara Stripling, Jennifer Branch and Dianne Oberg, and Kath Murdoch). The author acknowledges that all teachers are teachers of information literacy, and of the importance of library services to the success of the inquiry cycle. The importance of a collaborative approach is also acknowledged. This model is appealing, as this is a model of inquiry that was developed within a school setting in collaboration with all staff and in consultation with an expert (Kath Murdoch). The author supplies some useful references for further reading on inquiry learning.

The development of a philosophy for inquiry at this school, as described by the author, provides inspiration to me for pedagogical discourse in my own school setting.

Montiel-Overall, P. (2008). Teacher and librarian collaboration: A qualitative study. Library & Information Science Research, 30(2), 145-155. doi:10.1016/j.lisr.2007.06.008

This article presents findings from a study examining teacher and librarian collaboration from a qualitative perspective. The author was seeking a deeper understanding of the collaborative process and the characteristics and attributes of collaboration in schools where collaboration has led to positive academic results. Collaboration was defined in this study as shared thinking, shared planning, and shared creation of something new. Participants were selected for their knowledge and experience with the type of collaboration called for in professional guidelines. Participants were 18 teachers, including three librarians. Eighteen semi-structured interviews were the primary sources of data, as well as observations and field notes. Although there was a relatively small sample size, this study was able to generate five overarching themes for successful collaboration: school culture, attributes of collaborators, communication, management, motivation; and describe how these themes led to successful collaborative approaches.

The study generated a revised model of teacher and librarian collaboration, that adds to the evidence I have gathered – of the positive academic affects for students of teacher and librarian collaboration.

Savich, C. (2008). Improving critical thinking skills in history. Networks, 11(2).
Retrieved from

This article is a description of an experimental action research project that compared the effectiveness of two different methods of instruction (lecture OR inquiry method) in order to identify effective teaching methods that would increase critical thinking skills. The researcher taught two consecutive classes of the same age and subject (American History), using the two different instruction methods. Quantitative data involved student scores on assignments, quizzes, and examinations. Qualitative data consisted of observations, evaluations and assessments of student participation. The author found that an inquiry method of instruction resulted in a deeper understanding of the subject matter and improved critical thinking skills demonstrated by higher average test scores. The author does acknowledge that the lecture format is still necessary at times, to establish background information and present fundamental concepts and terms.

As I review models of  inquiry learning process there can be observed a place for the establishment of key concepts, terms and background information in the early phases of the inquiry process. This article provides me with guidelines for establishing effective pedagogy for the delivery of history curriculum.

Were, E. (2009). Judging the past : the value of the National History Challenge. Agora, 44(1), 17-21. Retrieved from;res=AEIPT;dn=174499.

This article describes how the National History Challenge offers inquiry based learning to students and, in addition, develops teachers’ professional understanding and appreciation of this strategy for teaching and learning. ‘Engagement is the pathway to learning’ (p18) best summarises the benefits of the National History Challenge. The author surveyed student participants, teachers and judges and was able to report favourable feedback regarding student’s increased opportunities to be active historians, teacher’s opportunity to assess history in an inquiry based model and an improved image of Australian history.

The article raises arguments for aspects of the National history Challenge that most benefited the teaching of history overall and is a point of reference when contemplating best practice for history teaching pedagogy.  I can see that, through participating in an inquiry process to create their projects, students have gained deeper understandings and real life skills.  Teachers also, have benefited, seeing the positive outcomes of their inquiry learning pedagogy on student learning.


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