FINAL TASTY TIDBITS
My journey into combining the inquiry process with gifted education and supporting adult learners was a very big mouthful, and has, at times, been overwhelming. At various stages of the journey I have felt like Goldilocks, lost in the forest, but as I worked through Kuhlthau’s Model of the Information Search Process (ISP), I grew in understanding and skills; though to be honest, my journey is far from over.
Initiation: Whilst I knew a great deal about gifted education already, there have been several years since I engaged in formal research in the field. The amount forgotten/newly generated was surprising. Added to this was the entirely new job context and the concept of focusing on secondary teachers as my learners. Uncertainty and apprehension were definitely part of the gamut of emotions experienced.
Selection: Knowing exactly what I thought that I wanted to learn about, and having a sense of purpose had me jumping into my inquiry with enthusiasm.
Exploration (the research process): This was when I got lost in the forest – chasing off on paths unrelated to my target; finding the recipes for research much more difficult than the recipes for porridge; generally feeling like I’d fallen into a bear pit with no way out.
Formulation (the research process): Definitely came later than I was prepared for; however, the understanding of what it actually was that I needed to know; the development of skills in how to search with focus; and how this helped my inquiry to fall into place was a great relief, and source of satisfaction.
Collection (the curated collection in Padlet): This was possibly the most enjoyable part of the inquiry, trawling through a small part of the actual resources I had collected, having realised that I needed to focus on specifics, rather than curiosities and interests unrelated to topic. Synthesising annotations truly helped me to develop a greater appreciation and understanding of my inquiry focus – and helped me to realise that this knowledge would be incredibly useful in other facets of my learning.
Presentation (infographic): Unfortunately, I didn’t leave a great deal of time for this; however, the understanding that came from synthesising annotations made composing the actual text quite painless. I would have preferred to spend more time on developing my skills in constructing infographics and making it more aesthetically pleasing. I am learning that sometimes I can eat instant porridge, rather than making a gourmet recipe from scratch!
This has been an interesting journey, and as is often the case in inquiry learning, I have developed greater self-knowledge as well as greater content knowledge. I have grown in understanding, knowledge and skills, though to be honest, there are still so many questions still left unanswered. Inquiry learning truly is an ongoing, spiralling cycle and I look forward to continuing my journey.