Question formulation and kittiwakes

The main paper I presented at the i3 Conference this week was on Students, question formulation and issues of transfer. This was part of a larger research project covering information literacy and transfer. I focused on how year 7 students, teachers and teacher librarians were all in favour of question formulation i.e. students developing their own questions for assignments as opposed to teachers providing questions. All were in favour in principle but, in practice, students and teachers often had a narrow interpretation of the value of questions e.g. they saw questions as mainly valuable in relation to information retrieval. Some students saw wider value  – that questions could be used throughout an assignment e.g. to guide the structure of the written assignment. In terms of transfer, some students voluntarily used questions in subsequent assignments while other students would only do do if directed by the teacher or teacher librarian. Question formulation, if done effectively, is a difficult task for most students and most year 7 students will need guidance on formulating questions. It cannot be assumed that all students will have the ability to formulate questions.

The kittiwakes are nesting again on the walls of the ruins of Dunbar Castle. There’s a good video by students in my old school about kittiwakes.  It also features the local high street and the John Muir Centre. The kittiwakes return each year to nest in the same places and have a very distinctive call. There is often a cacophony of noise at the harbour when these little gulls are nesting. You can get quite close to the nests and can see the chicks in the nest with the naked eye.  At the moment, the birds are sitting on eggs – see picture below.

Kittiwakes

Kittiwakes

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