My immediate response to the thought of having to give and receive feedback from my peers who have also been undergoing an information seeking journey this semester was one of hesitation. This was mainly because I was still lacking confident about my own work (a natural response according to Kuhlthau). However, after spending time exploring the works of my peers I discovered that while our approaches might look physically different, in terms of exploring and becoming familiar with, and reporting back about different information database we indeed shared common ground. I needed to remind myself also that Kuhlthau theory of Guided Inquiry supports and encourages the idea of a community of learners who learn together and learn from each other. This process forced me to look at the content and structure of my peer’s essays with a critical eye, and also made me reflect on my own work.
Once my feedback was received, I was able to see my blog from the perspective of someone else’s eyes, and seek to make improvements as a result. I had a go at some of the suggested Web 2.0 tools for mind mapping, and looked to enhance my searches further by the inclusion of screen shots.
Thinking about this activity I am able to see that not only have I benefitted from receiving feedback, but also from giving it as well. My knowledge base about my own context of the history curriculum has increased, I gained insight into different perspectives, and the opportunity to share knowledge and skills encouraged me to identify more clearly the strengths and weaknesses of my work.
This process has potential to be a valuable exercise in my early years classroom as the children work towards presenting new knowledge about our topic in a visual form. I need to be mindful that it is part of my responsibility as a history teacher to not only ensure the children are provided with an authentic inquiry tasks, but also are given opportunity to think critically and collaboratively work with each other.