Year 2 BA(Hons) Primary Education – evaluating and referencing sources

By | May 9, 2018

A jointly designed session between me (Clare) in the library and tutors on year 2 of the Primary Education degree, the aim of this session when it first ran was to encourage students to evaluate sources, use them in their work, and reference them effectively. Since we first started to run it a few years ago, we have also begun to focus on the different landscapes of information at play for students on teacher education courses (see the reference to the work of Lloyd on the welcome page for more info on landscapes). This is an ideal module in which to do so, as it aims to take targets the students have been given to work on, from placements in school, and gets them to take those concepts, reflect, and account for how they can work upon them. It melds the professional and the university experiences. We discuss how the information landscape of the classroom is quite different to the academic, university one. In the classroom, information is much more likely to be obtained from colleagues, and from policy (either local or national). We discuss how important it is to interrogate these information sources, especially in using them to formulate approaches to teaching classes, lesson planning, and curriculum design. It is also important to acknowledge how much educational research used in universities is trapped behind paywalls, so we look at what is available open access.

This year, for the first time, we discussed how reference lists can be evaluated in terms of who is and isn’t represented in them. This is something I would like to build on next year. It emerged especially with those students focusing on additional educational needs and inclusion, and how important their pupils’ voices and experiences are in evaluating their teaching in this respect.

On a practical level, it is good to be in an IT suite for this. This is because I embed links to the polling questions in the VLE and logging in to Moodle in class and finding the links provides an easy way of them answering. I use poll everywhere to ask the questions and collect the answers. You could use the technique with other polling options though, depending upon what you have available. Further to this, we incorporate RefWorks use and it is good to get hands on with that. I like to labour the point that we introduce such a tool because we want students to spend their precious time focusing on what to use, evaluation and integration into assignments, rather than worrying where to put a full stop or italics in references.

As a librarian, this is one of my favourite sessions to take. I repeat it with different groups, five times in the space of a week. Each is different though, as the responses vary between the students. You can see on the lesson plan that we take in evaluations. Here (with permission) are a few of the evaluations we got this year (2018)…

“This will open up new opportunities for me to find useful and appropriate references which will improve my writing and criticality for assignments.”

“it will allow me to use a more varied genre of sources and be critical within my use of sources and information”

“I will feel more confident in writing critically and supporting viewpoints”

2QTSP2 lesson plan 18

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *