Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Guide Posts and Cornerstones in Research

Reflecting on process and product
As I have written in a previous blog post, we resumed research and EE work the week we got back at school in January. During an EE session with the juniors, I asked them two questions to prompt them to look back at where they are in their EE journey and to push them to look ahead, deadlines and all. After two weeks, I am getting final drafts of the seniors' EEs.

I am swamped.

Not complaining.

Just saying.

What I like about this experience is that, as a high school librarian, I get a first hand experience at seeing research being done by students. I also get to work closely with EE Supervisors as they guide and mentor their students in the process of writing the EE. Now, these are two interesting research topics I can work on in the future.

But, it has to wait a while.

Here are some random reflections, questions and thoughts I have been tossing in my head as I push the idea of an action research or a paper on high school research and collaborative teaching back in my head. For now, I wish to entertain these questions and thoughts before jumping into that research paper.

1. Research and writing are both process oriented tasks that involve a lot of cognitive functions. How can complex tasks such as these can be scaled down or divided in chunks so that, the high school student working on college level work can be guided or taught appropriately?

2. Where in the curriculum can a teacher teach writing and research? Apart from process, the word skills comes to mind when I meet writing and research almost everyday of my working life. So, content is essential as the meat or the substance by which the skills are applied.

3. Research is formative as well. Not only is it a test of intellectual endurance, it is also a test of character. Patience. Perseverance. Commitment to finish a task. How are we preparing our teens for the emotional stamina needed to do research?

4. Writing is listening. To one's self. To one's readers. We may teach writing as a form of communication, but, have we considered teaching writing as conversation and discourse?

5. As the school librarian, I am compelled to model research and writing. And reading! Yes, I need to read the curricular content. I need to know what sources to provide both student and teacher working on such tasks. Designing an environment to support research and thinking is a primary expectation, but going beyond and developing knowledge management systems in the school is another challenge.

Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh my.

Where will these thoughts lead me? Or am I misled by my thoughts?

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