Dr Andrew K. Shenton is an information literacy specialist. He is a former lecturer at Northumbria University, and currently works in curriculum and resource support at Monkseaton High School.
Why do so many students default to simple formulaic steps when asked to complete an extended project. Andrew Shenton says they need to be taught the deeper skills of using methodologies, not just research tips.
This is the conclusion of a three-part series on helping students tackle long-term, independent learning projects at Sixth Form level. In this article Andrew Shenton and Melanie Wood expand on the processes involved in ‘snowball sampling’ to provide students with tools to search for and locate reliable and relevant sources.
Many learners find it difficult to synthesise information collected from different sources. Andrew Shenton and Melanie Wood share a method for helping students develop this important abstract thinking skill.
Pupils often have a hard time uniting multiple sources in their research papers. Dr Andrew Shenton shares a model he uses for his sixth-formers to help them with this complex and abstract task of synthesising materials.
It’s easy to lament that there are often fundamental problems in Independent Study projects undertaken by students, but the specific difficulties are not always identified. Dr Andrew Shenton digs deeper into the Extended Project Qualification work of Sixth Formers and shows where the information literacy gaps arise.
Encouraging independent learning is, rightly, one of the mantras of progressive teaching and learning. But precious little thought has been given to how this can be supported by teachers, particularly to children used to being spoon fed by teachers rushing them through the syllabus. A key requirement is being very clear and realistic about the information gathering journey that the children are embarking upon. Andrew Shenton and Wendy Beautyman suggest a planning framework.