Sometimes teaching can feel like an uphill struggle, but every now and then we are rewarded with a little nugget of brilliance. This came to me last week in the form of a Year 7 class.
Working as a TL, I am constantly trying to find new ways to promote the library and what we do. In the age of Google, it can sometimes be rather frustrating when both staff and student alike say that they don’t our help because they can “Google it”. Usually when I hear that classes are researching I cringe, because it often means just googling it and using the first page that comes up Wikipedia. Don’t get me wrong, there’s merit in both of these sites, but there is even more merit in learning how to research effectively.
Last Wednesday I had been asked to run a short session for a Year 7 debating class on researching, focussing mainly on where to find information. I gave them a worksheet to help them create a list of search terms, and reminded them of the importance of a keyword search before moving on to talk about where we could find information. Here is a shortened version of the conversation/ nugget of brilliance that followed:
‘So, you’re ready to begin searching what now?’
‘We see if there’s a LibGuide’ said one student
‘Fantastic!, I yelled, ‘ But, we haven’t set up a LibGuide’ I had barely finished when..
‘Well, we can go to the online resources and have a look at LinksPlus or Issues in Society’ said another student.
‘Yes!!’ At this stage, I was beside myself, because for the first time, since I started working at this school, I did not need to remind them of our fantastic resources.
I was so impressed with them, this is the first year group who have really grasped the importance of finding reliable information.
I should point out that I do teach my students to use Google, but because there can be a lot of white noise ( irrelevant, unreliable sources) I find that teaching them about our resources first is valuable and reinforces the need to critically evaluate the resources that they are using.