The students who participated in this journey:
As described previously – ILA (Independent Learning Activity) – students observed were a year 5/6 composite class of 22 students. The classroom teacher had decided to split the research topics by year level. For the purposes of this data collection I focused initially on the Year 6 students, although surveyed the whole class. This turned out to be a good decision, as looking over the results of Questionnaire One I could see that there were skills requirements across the whole group regardless of research topic. I detail the Action Taken after Questionnaire One here.
Students reflected on their existing (Questionnaire one) and new (Questionnaire two) knowledge and understandings on the topic of the development of the Australian wool industry (Year five) and on countries that people have migrated to Australia from (Year six). The classroom teacher explicitly taught the concepts around the history of the Australian wool industry, in the classroom. Learning experiences building background knowledge of migration to Australia were covered by both myself as Teacher Librarian and the classroom teacher. All students were then given a research topic by the classroom teacher. Year five students to ‘find out about’ the Australian wool industry and Year six students to ‘research a country that people had migrated to Australia from’. The classroom teacher did not provide any scaffolding in the form of a research sheet, with focus questions, key terms or subheadings. For the first three weeks, students participated in independent research sessions in the Library Computer Lab (with both classroom teacher and teacher librarian in attendance), and in the classroom. Students participated in lessons with myself, as teacher librarian, on some micro-skills of research. Details of Action Taken by the teacher librarian can be seen here. The students knew that they needed to write a report of their findings.
Data Collection: Methodology
The questionnaires utilised were those found in the Student Learning Through inquiry Measure (SLIM) Toolkit, (Todd, Kuhlthau and Heinstrom 2005). Questionnaire one was completed by 20 students, Questionnaire two by 21. For the purpose of analysing the data graphically, I have used the data from the 16 students who completed both questionnaires. The classroom teacher changed direction five weeks into the unit of work – deciding to jump directly to the Assessment task provided in the Year 6 History C2C Unit as she ‘needed something concrete to report on’. She did not inform me of this decision and a week and a half transpired before we met again and I was made aware of the change. The students had finished with the topic, therefore I did not apply Questionnaire three. The data collected from the two questionnaires and my observations have given me a clear picture of the learning needs of these students, and where possible I have taken this into account in future curriculum planning. See After the ILA: Recommendations.