From little conversations …..

I am always banging on about collaboration. Anyone who knows me, knows this.  And one of my favourite things is when a small conversation turns into an opportunity for me to get myself in front of a class, talking about research.  This happened again last week, and all it took was for me to ask a simple question:  “How is your class getting on with their research?”

An English teacher was working with her Year 10 class in the library.  Each student is researching an individual topic that they then have to write a persuasive, point-of-view essay about.  When I asked her how they were getting on, she commented that they were struggling to come up with three suitable research questions for their topic and then finding quality information to help them justify their point of view.

I immediately thought of the Gale Cengage Opposing Viewpoints in Context database which is an excellent source of reference material with the added bonus of point of view essays from both sides of a contentious issue.  After looking at this database together with the outcome for students in mind, she asked me if I could go through this resource with her class, which I gladly did this morning.


  • Students were exposed to another quality source of information for research
  • Students were able to find good resources they couldn’t find just by using Google
  • Students who were struggling with their chosen topic were able to find something they felt more confident researching by using the browse issues facility
  • Happy teacher who now has another tool in her bag of tricks to pull out and use with other classes

So the message is simple, really ……. Just

  • Show interest
  • Ask questions
  • And wherever possible, offer solutions

4 thoughts on “From little conversations …..

  1. Thanks for your post Senga. It reminds me to follow up on the year 12 students teacher who came to visit our public library for finding adult fiction with her class.


    1. Hey Doris
      Glad my posting provided that wee prompt! And in my experience almost all teachers are so receptive to having conversations that will help them with their teaching and with their students’ learning. You go for it! (And feel free to share anything that might come from it :-))


  2. Hi Senga,
    I have a presentation all prepared for a class coming into our public library, (They have rescheduled to October) all about Google search and databases, one of which is Opposing Viewpoints. Love your outcomes and message. And thanks again for the use of your google search resource btw 🙂


    1. Glad to be of help 🙂 …. What age group are you working with? It’s so neat to hear about the great ways public librarians are working with teachers to help their students. I see lots of ways for public and school librarians to work together!


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