Academic journal article School Libraries Worldwide

Inquiry Based Learning Models, Information Literacy, and Student Engagement: A Literature Review

Academic journal article School Libraries Worldwide

Inquiry Based Learning Models, Information Literacy, and Student Engagement: A Literature Review

Article excerpt

Introduction

Despite growing recognition that creativity and innovation are necessary aptitudes for successful and satisfied adult citizens (AASL, 2007; Henderson, 2008; Partnership for the 21st Century, 2013; Zhao, 2012), research shows these skills diminish for American students with each year spent in school (Zhao, 2012). While IQ and SAT scores have increased, creativity scores have dropped significantly since 1990 (Kim, 2011). According to Land and Jarman, ".... non-creative behavior is learned." (1992). In fact, after showing genius levels of creativity at ages four and five, U.S. students begin to show dwindling interest in school in the second grade (Zhao, 2012). Declaring a "creativity crisis," Kyung Hee Kim's research (2011) shows that while creativity in Americans of all ages suffers over time, the greatest loss happens for children in grades Kindergarten to third grade (ages 5 - 8). Kim argues that the academic focus on high stakes testing consumes class time better spent on more holistic, immersive learning pursuits, ones designed to spark imagination and engage the critical thinking required for growing creative, innovative minds. These findings suggest educators are not using instructional models that maximize creativity and deeper student engagement.

The current educational model is not working for many American students; school is not serving broader societal goals for a thriving citizenry of active, interested and self-possessed individuals. The Partnership for the 21st Century Learning (2013) states that, "There remains, however, a profound gap between the knowledge and skills most students learn in school and the knowledge and skills they need in typical 21st century communities and workplaces". The current traditional educational paradigm remains rooted in the industrial revolution and the factory production model where one size fits all and turns out "standardized" individuals. It has yet to move toward development of creative and innovative learners and thinkers able to successfully engage in diverse and complex environments (Robinson & Arnica, 2016; Wagner & Dintersmith; Zhao, 2012).

Forward-thinking educational scholars and practitioners, school librarians among them, are working towards a shift from outdated lock-step teaching modes of instruction to ones that actively engage students in authentic, relevant work. Such student-centered instruction is considered supportive of skills development necessary for effective and satisfying participation in an increasingly complicated, global society. Growing scholarly understanding reports that students experience academic engagement through feelings of relevance and choice, the knowledge that their work and learning matters and is valued by themselves and by others (Deci & Ryan, 2008, 2016; Guay, Ratelle, & Chanal, 2008; Núñez & León, 2015). New student-centered methods feature opportunities for students to research and explore, experiment, collaborate, make choices, and use their imaginations.

Currently, Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) is offered as an effective framework for catalyzing positive shifts in learning processes and strategies (Barron & Darling-Hammond, 2008; Bell, 2010; Buck Institute of Education, 2014; Duffy & Raymer, 2010; Friesen & Scott, 2013; Krajcik & Blumenfeld, 2006; Small, 2009; Thomas, 2000; Wolk, 2008). To date this framework is implemented in pockets around the country only. Where it is implemented, IBL allows students to make determinations about the problems, challenges and issues they investigate, helping move students toward meaningful engagement and deeper learning. It has been found that greater autonomy through IBL helps students develop knowledge and process skills as well as self-confidence, as they work and learn through questioning and problem-solving (Nunex & Leon, 2015; Small, 2009; Thomas, 2000). Included in this learning challenge is opportunity for students to experiment, fail, return to researching, revise thinking, and try again - engage in creative and innovative practices. …

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