Assignment 1

Helen Lindsay

Student Number: 11161143

Subject: ETL401

Assignment Question:

Using your readings for this unit, choose ONE (1) of the following topics to write a 500 word reflective piece which demonstrates your understanding of the role of the teacher librarian with regard to this aspect of TL practice.  Your writing should be succinct, include in-text references and an alphabetical reference list at the end using APA referencing style.

Comment of the role of the TL in practice with regard to:

  • evidenced based practice;
  • Principal support;
  • Constructivist learning and the Australian Curriculum;
  • Assessing information literacy and inquiry learning;
  • The convergence of literacies in the 21st century; or
  • Implementing a Guided Inquiry approach.


I have chosen to comment on the role of the TL in practice with regard to implementing a Guided Inquiry approach.


The guided inquiry approach is one where “learners find and use a variety of resources and ideas to increase their understanding and knowledge of a problem, issue or topic.” (Bonanno, 2009).  The guided inquiry approach is not fixed in its method or structure. Depending on the age and level of skills of the students involved, it may vary from a highly guided and structured course of inquiry to a very unstructured and independent type of learning (Lee 2012 p.9).  Whilst there is no single fixed model for this, there are usually common elements: exploration, identifying a topic or problem, and following through with an inquiry design (Lee, 2012, p8).  Implementing a guided inquiry approach in a school is most effectively done through collaboration.  Teacher-librarians are in a unique position to work in conjunction with class teachers to maximise the effectiveness of the inquiry based learning exercise.

Whilst there is a continuum  (Harada, 2004, p26) along which the degrees of involvement of the teacher-librarian change, starting with simple cooperation with the class teacher and ranging to the complete and equal involvement of the teacher librarian, studies suggest the most effective method of collaboration between the teacher-librarian and the class teacher is to work together from the initial planning of the unit, sharing responsibility and contributing equally to the creation, implementation and review of the unit of work (Wallace, 2011, p.13).

Teacher-librarians can contribute unique skills to a guided inquiry unit of work.  During the course of the unit they can work in collaboration with the class teacher, modelling skills in how to access relevant information, both through existing library resources and electronically, ensuring students have electronic access to global resources.  They can develop these information seeking skills by teaching and modelling skills in evaluating the worth of the resources, helping students to understand which information is reliable and which is unsubstantiated.  Teacher-librarians can design or make available information, such as research checklists and Pathfinders, which will help students in their inquiries.  They can help students learn about note-taking skills and mapping / planning skills in order to facilitate effective learning.  Although many of these skills can be taught in isolation, teaching or modelling them to students in a guided-inquiry unit ensures they have real life relevance – students can utilise them in a real way to pursue work they have ownership of. Harada notes that “information skills cannot be taught separately from the thinking processes that are needed to master content” (2004, p.19). At the appropriate time in the unit, students can also benefit from teacher-librarians demonstrating correct referencing and bibliography skills. 

Apart from contributing relevant skills and knowledge during the guided inquiry process, the teacher-librarian and class teacher will work together as facilitators, actively listening to the students, participating in facilitative questioning and observing students closely to help guide them where necessary. At the completion of the unit, both adults can consider the unit assessment and how it should be adjusted to enhance future teaching and learning strategies.

By working together throughout the entire process, the class teacher and teacher-librarian can ensure that the collaborative and positive learning environment they are encouraging the students to participate in is modelled to them. “If collaboration is a necessity in today’s workplace – and we want our students to practice this – we must model the same behaviour” (Harada, 2004, p19).



Behrenbruch, M. (2012) Why Inquiry Learning? Why Now? In Springer, D., Dancing in the Light: Essential Elements for an Inquiry Classroom. Sense Publishers. Ebook retrieved from CSU Library


Bonanno, K. (2009) Inquiry Learning: It’s all in the question. Presented at the Australasian College of Educators 2009 Conference, Digital Fair – Word of Mouse, Geelong.

Retrieved from


Chu, K. (2009) Inquiry project-based learning with a partnership of three types of teachers and the school librarian.  Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology, 70 (8), 1671-1686. Doi: 10.1002/asi.21084


Gillon, K., Stotter, J. (2011) Inquiry learning with senior secondary students: yes it can be done!  Access 25(3), 14-19. Retrieved from


Harada, V.H., & Yoshina, J. M. (2004) Inquiry Learning through Librarian-Teacher Partnerships. Ohio: Linworth Publishing Inc.


Haycock, K. (2007) Collaboration: Critical Success Factors for Student Learning. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 25-35. Retrieved from:


Jansen, b. (2011) INQUIRY UNPACKED: An Introduction to Inquiry-Based Learning.  Library Media Connection 29(5), 10-12 

Retrieved from:


Lee, V. S. (2011) The Power of Inquiry as a Way of Learning. Innovative Higher Education, 36(3), 149-160.


Lee, V.S. (2012) What is Inquiry-Guided Learning? New Directions for Teaching and Learning. 129, Spring 2012, 5-14.  DOI: 10.1002/tl.20002


Wallace, V.L., & Husid, W.N. (2011) Collaborating for Inquiry-Based Learning: School Librarians and Teachers Partner for Student Achievement. Santa Barbara:ABC-CLIO. Ebook retrieved from


Marcum, J. (2009) The Library as Inquiry Learning System: Defining the Issues.  College & Undergraduate Libraries, 16(4), 358-362. New Jersey. Taylor & Francis Group.

DOI: 10.1080/10691310903356018


Statement on guided inquiry and the curriculum (2012) Retrieved from

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