DEC Scan Journal : February 2011
Scan Vol 30 No 1 February 2011 32 Question 2 and Question 3: Have you any particular difficulties relating to your topic? What have you learnt from this Guided Inquiry? These questions were combined to show difficulties expressed, and self expressed learnings at end of project. Analysis Problems with evaluating information (blue) have been addressed in the project, according to students. Students did not think they had any difficulties locating informa- tion (teal) but it is finding it at the right level that is problematic (red). This reinforces the findings in the 2008 AIS Guided Inquiry project. Students search too deeply at first, when what they need then is overview information. We taught them how to search for an overview at first, then move to deeper information and, when their question is developed, to use online databases. Anecdotally, students expressed that they have learnt this, but this is not reinforced in this graph. It is clear that it needs further explicit teaching. High achievement Student L (orange column), the highest achieving student, made the biggest number of conclusions, started making explanations early, and made the fewest number of facts at outset. Her topic was the reasons for the waxing and waning of support for the Klu Klux Klan over time, not a simple topic by any means, and she set about very early looking for patterns in her information gathering. Both Student C and Student I show a large number of facts at the outset, fewer explanations, and substantially fewer conclusions than Student L, reflecting difficulties in finding patterns in the information gathered and synthesising as they went through the process of the GI. Implication for Loreto More explicit teaching may be needed on the kinds of searching appropriate to each stage, and highlighted above in Kulhtau's preliminary, exploratory, comprehensive and summary searching concepts (2007, p. 84). Students need to be taught to begin with overview information so they can gain a basic understanding of the scope of their topic, before they steadily go deeper as the enquiry proceeds. We did stress this in the process of this GI, but there is evidence to show that it needs to be reinforced, particularly finding ways of emphasising ongoing synthesis of information to work towards establishing patters, (explanations, conclusions) earlier in the journey to understanding a topic.