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Facilitating Effective Sixth Form Independent Learning: Methodologies, Methods and Tools



For young people who have opted to continue their education post-sixteen, it is difficult to overstate the importance of the independent learning which takes place in the Sixth Form. Typically, the balance between classroom teaching and private study shifts dramatically at this point and individuals who intend to go on to university find themselves having to put in place strategies that will stand them in good stead for the next stage of their academic lives, in addition to serving their current needs.

Facilitating Effective Sixth Form Independent Learning is a comprehensive guide for educators looking to support independent learning in the Sixth Form. It takes the reader on a step-by-step journey showing how an appropriate teaching programme may be set up and offers proven tools and strategies that can be adopted in the classroom. The book advises on how a worthwhile research question may be formulated and establishes the importance of teaching unifying methodologies, in addition to individual techniques, before various means of finding information are identified. It develops an approach to help students think systematically about the available options and considers methods for evaluating information and managing time. The book then addresses the construction of essays and reports and then guides readers through understanding and implementing the Information/Writing Interaction Model (IWIM). Further coverage includes strategies for countering plagiarism and numerous suggestions for promoting student reflection.

Rigorous yet accessible and featuring numerous practical examples, Facilitating Effective Sixth Form Independent Learning is an essential resource for educators working in a world where developing independent learning skills is not an option, but essential.

1 Introduction

1.1 The need for this book

1.2 The nature of independent learning

1.3 The special situation of Sixth Formers

1.4 The scope of the book

1.5 Key concepts

1.6 Chapter summary

2 Essential considerations when establishing an information literacy teaching programme

2.1 Aims of the teaching

2.2 The strategies available

2.3 Content inspirations

2.4 The design of the task

2.5 Desired outcomes

2.6 Surveying the whole

2.7 Defining a 'learning overview'

2.8 Chapter summary

3 Devising tools for students to self-assess their academic skills

3.1 Origins

3.2 Construction

3.3 The individual stages

3.4 Medium

3.5 Optional exercises

3.6 Key benefits of the instrument

3.7 Caveats

3.8 Ethics

3.9 Chapter summary

4 Facilitating exploration and the generation of an effective research question

4.1 Initiating the research process

4.2 The topic: familiar or new?

4.3 Making the subject of a book the subject of research

4.4 Formulating an effective research question

4.5 The problems of narrative and biography

4.6 Self-assessment

4.7 Dyadic sharing

4.8 Exploiting opportunities

4.9 The educator's role

4.10 Developing an initial information specification

4.11 Chapter summary

5 Encouraging flexible methodologies for solving information problems

5.1 The nature of 'methodology'

5.2 A 'snowballing' methodology

5.2.1 Overall patterns

5.2.2 Attending to source types and named journals

5.2.3 Other forms of search extension

5.2.4 An aspirational target

5.3 A methodology to facilitate comparison

5.4 A composite cross-disciplinary methodology

5.5 The application of methodologies

5.6 Chapter summary

6 Assisting in the preparation and planning of a rigorous search

6.1 The choices available

6.2 Itemising sources available via a Bradford breakdown

6.2.1 Bradford's research and its application

6.2.2 Relevance in the classroom

6.2.3 A case study: part one

6.2.4 Extending Bradford's Law to embrace books

6.2.5 A case study: part two

6.2.6 Overall benefits

6.3 The electronic environment

6.3.2 Tools

6.3.2 Keyword- and menu-driven information retrieval systems

6.3.3 Search techniques

6.4 Dismantling information seeking boundaries

6.5 Integrated strategies

6.6 Chapter summary

7 Promoting the evaluation of information

7.1 Core issues

7.2 The user's essential needs

7.3 Options available to the student

7.4 Introducing meta-evaluation

7.4.1 Linking research and practice

7.4.2 The significance of context

7.4.3 Interdependence of the criteria

7.4.4 The proforma tool

7.4.5 Freedom of method

7.5 Reorientating the evaluative framework to cover data

7.6 Thinking inductively

7.6.1 The underlying premise

7.6.2 Promoting induction

7.6.3 Principal benefits

7.6.4 A variation

7.6.5 Further use of television and radio

7.7 Second order assessment

7.8 Extending self-assessment into source evaluation

7.9 Acknowledging the complexities of information literacy

7.9.1 Assessing authorship

7.9.2 Considering the readership

7.9.3 Implications for the educator

7.10 Chapter summary

8 Highlighting time management strategies

8.1 The nature of time management

8.2 Planning according to overall educator expectations and deadlines

8.3 Deconstructing the whole

8.4 Planning within a phase

8.5 Planning according to specific blocks of time

8.6 Planning in parallel

8.7 Understanding productivity according to an elongated S-shaped curve

8.8 Planning and time management

8.9 Chapter summary

9 Introducing initial thoughts on the end product

9.1 Annotated bibliographies

9.1.1 Justifying the work involved

9.1.2 The wider value of annotated bibliographies

9.2 Informal student documentation

9.3 Shifting to essay planning

9.4 Guidance on producing an effective end product

9.5 Modelling

9.6 Chapter summary

10 Adopting the Information/Writing Interaction Model

10.1 Introducing IWIM

10.2 Associated skills

10.3 Strengths of IWIM

10.4 Taking IWIM further

10.5 Testing IWIM outcomes

10.6 Uptake of IWIM

10.7 Student outcomes and attitudes

10.8 An overall model

10.9 Applying IWIM in other contexts

10.9.1 Provisions to increase applicability and success

10.10 Moving forward

10.11 Chapter summary

11 Countering plagiarism

11.1 Initial awareness raising

11.2 An integrated strategy

11.2.1 Deterrence (1): persuasion

11.2.2 Deterrence (2): information literacy teaching

11.2.3 Deterrence (3): task design

11.2.4 Detection of plagiarism

11.2.5 Dealing with plagiarism

11.3 Chapter summary

12 Stimulating reflection

12.1 Placement

12.2 Specific tools for promoting reflection

12.2.1 From information behaviour, information literacy and inquiry

12.2.2 Customer Journey Mapping

12.3 Thinking visually

12.4 Revisiting existing tools

12.5 Unifying familiar ideas

12.6 Shortcomings in tools for reflection

12.7 Final thoughts on reflection – form, scope and effectiveness

12.8 Chapter summary

13 Afterword

Andrew K. Shenton, BA (Hons), MSc, PhD, DLitt, PGCE, FCLIP, has worked at Monkseaton High School, in north-east England, for the last 17 years. Dually qualified in education and information science, he has been involved in teaching the Extended Project Qualification since its inauguration in the organisation in 2010. Andrew is a specialist in the fields of information behaviour, information literacy and research methods. He is widely published and highly cited, with over 200 publications to his name across a range of professional periodicals and peer-reviewed journals in education and LIS. On becoming a Chartered Fellow of CILIP in October 2020, Andrew gained the unusual distinction of holding both the highest academic degree in his field and the highest professional qualification.

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