May 24

ETL401 Assessment Item 3: Part C – Reflective Practice

Provide a critical reflection of how your understanding of Information Literacy (IL), IL models and the TL role in inquiry learning has expanded through this subject.

At the end of Week 2, I completed my first reflective blog post for ETL401, talking about the role of a Teacher Librarian (TL) based on my teaching experiences. In the final paragraph, I mentioned that beyond the two main facets I had spoken about in depth, TL’s manage the physical library space, teach students to be library, ICT and information literate, manage Book Week celebrations and/or events and keep themselves and other staff up-to-date with the publishing industry, technology, current teaching pedagogies and the curriculum. So, even at this early stage of the subject I knew that teaching information literacy (IL) was part of the TL’s role, but I didn’t know a great deal about IL as a concept.

To unpack IL as a concept, I first drew upon my knowledge of information from module two. Although there is no widely accepted definition of information (Case, 2006, p. 61), I demonstrated my understanding in Forum 2.1 (Thinking About Information) that there are different types of knowledge and information, and that the four properties of information – inconsumable, untransferable, indivisible and accumulative – have a profound effect on how we learn and communicate. I also discussed the data-knowledge continuum, which I can now see has influenced the structure of IL models.

Next, following the course material in module five, I began to consider the nature of the term literacy. I attempted to come up with a simple definition in my blog post, Definitions of Literacy, to capture the traditional skills – reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, and understanding – as well as the situation and application of those skills. However, UNESCO (2006, p. 148) highlighted another two ways of seeing literacy: as a learning process and as text. As such, I don’t know if my definition does justice, especially when you consider, in addition, Functions of Meaning or multiliteracies (Kalantzis & Cope, 2015). Clearly, the concept of literacy is just as complex as information, so when you put the two together, the complexity increases twofold!

There are many definitions of IL (CILIP Information Literacy Group, n.d.). As the information landscape changes, so to will the definitions change (Fitzgerald, 2015, p. 17) since the concept is tied to its context. In one blog post, I highlighted one of my favourite quotes taken from the course material, and thought about it in relation to my fourth-year university practicum. It clarified the important shift from IL as a set of skills and behaviours, to sociocultural construction of information and meaning, and whole body engagement with a range of modes. It also helped me to understand the importance of authentic learning experiences.

By engaging with this modality of information, novices learn to act as practitioners, but they cannot become practitioners because they are removed from the reflexive and reflective embodied experiences and tensions arising from practice.”

– Lloyd, 2007

As I moved through the fifth module, I couldn’t think of a time when I had actually used inquiry learning. Most of my teaching experience is as a TRT, so, of course, inquiry learning is not an option. Then I remembered using Primary Connections during my very first year, which I spoke about in Forum 5.3a (Information Literacy Model). The program, developed by the Australian Academy of Science, uses the 5Es – engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate (Australian Academy of Science, 2019). Though this is not an IL model itself, the elements of an IL model, such as the Information Search Process, Big6, or I-LEARN could be easily integrated with it.

So, how has my understanding of the TL’s role developed through the subject? Here, I’d like to refer back to my original statement on the role of a TL. I said that one aspect of the role was to teach students to be library, ICT and information literate. This is true, of course, but if I rewrote my statement, I would expand on this element of the role, and include more about collaboration.

Without IL, the Teacher Librarian is just a Librarian! IL and inquiry learning is where the TL and classroom teacher come together as the ultimate partnership. The classroom teacher brings content knowledge and the TL brings knowledge of IL, ICT, Creative and Critical Thinking, and Literacy capabilities together to create authentic learning experiences and develop 21st-century skills. For this to happen, effective collaboration is critical. In one blog post, I considered Gibson-Langford’s guiding principles for building collaborative relationships (2008, p. 34). I have bookmarked these for the future.


Australian Academy of Science. (2019). 5Es teaching and learning model. Retrieved from

Case, D.O. (2006). Looking for information: A survey of research on information seeking, needs and behaviour (2nd ed.). Burlingham: Emerald Publishing Limited

CILIP Information Literacy Group. (n.d.). Definitions & models – information literacy website. Retrieved from

Fitzgerald, L. (2015). Guided inquiry in practice. Scan, 34(4), 16-27. Retrieved from

Gibson-Langford, L. (2008). Collaboration: Force or forced, part 2. Scan, 27(1), 31-37. Retrieved from;dn=166077;res=AEIPT

Kalantzis, M., & Cope, B. (2015). Multiliteracies: Expanding the scope of literacy pedagogy. New Learning. Retrieved from

Lloyd, A. (2007). Recasting information literacy as sociocultural practice: Implications for library and information science researchers. Information Research, 12(4).

UNESCO. (2006). Education for all: Literacy for life. EFA global monitoring report, 2006. Paris, France: UNESCO Publishing

May 22

A More Productive Workplace

From each of the readings, identify some ideas that are new to you.

Gilman, 2007

  • The four habits of highly effective librarians include:
    • Openness
    • Responsiveness
    • Collaboration
    • Communication

Wilson, 2019

  • There are three teaching time zones – structured work time, unstructured work time, and your time.
  • Know when good enough is good enough.
  • Choose carefully what you give 100% to.

Pewhairangi, 2018

  • Set small goals.
  • If you don’t believe you can do something, it doesn’t matter if you actually can or can’t. Confidence!

Based on your understanding of what the writers have said what is one thing you could do right now that would make you more productive in your work place?

Although I’m currently working as a TRT, I do have free periods at my schools from time to time. They’re usually about fifty minutes. I’ve been using them to work through my study materials, or work on assignments, wherever I’m up to.

I like what Wilson said about teaching time zones (2019, “The three time zones of teaching”). In my teaching experience, it is always very difficult to achieve a lot in Zone 2. Often, you end up talking to colleagues or wasting time. It is here that you can be productive.

So, if I’m at work and I get a free period, I should set a small goal and make sure I get onto it!


Gilman, T. (2007, May 23). The four habits of highly effective librarians [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Pewhairangi, S. (2018). How to boost your digital literacy confidence. SCIS Connections, 106. Retrieved from

Wilson, T. (2019). Time management for teachers – essential tips if you want a life outside school. Retrieved from

May 6

Information Literacy and My Role at School

Reflect on what you can take from the discussion of information literacy to your IL role in school.

First and foremost, after reading through the discussions around Information Literacy (IL) in the course material, it has become clear and obvious that no clear definition of IL exists and that our own notions of the concept will ultimately affect how we plan for and teach it (Bruce, Edwards & Lupton, 2006, p. 2).

Bruce, Edwards and Lupton (2006, p. 3) outline six different frames through which IL can be viewed: content, competency, learning to learn, relational, social impact, and personal relevance. Each frame has a different view of IL, view of information, curriculum focus, view of teaching and learning, view of content, and view of assessment (Bruce, Edwards & Lupton, 2006, pp. 4-5).

I think that as I have more experience in library and information literacy teaching, my position amongst the frames will become clearer. At this stage, I think I see IL through both the competency and learning to learn frames, as my previous school adopted a series of experiences for students that focussed on learning to learn, which was important for students in our low socio-economic area. The competency frame seems simple, and perhaps the easiest to apply to the competency-based assessment and reporting that is so common in schools at which I have worked.

I can certainly see the distinction between the behaviourist and sociocultural approaches to IL, as well as the importance of placing IL into context. Kutner & Armstrong (2012, p. 25) note that a skills-based approach alone is not enough to facilitate deep IL learning. As such, as I work towards employment in a school or public library, I will need to implement a balanced mixture of both approaches.


Bruce, C., Edwards, S., & Lupton, M. (2006). Six frames for information literacy education: A conceptual framework for interpreting the relationships between theory and practice. Innovation in Teaching and Learning in Information and Computer Sciences, 5(1), 1-18. doi: 10.11120/ital.2006.05010002

Kutner, L., & Armstrong, A. (2012). Rethinking information literacy in a globalised world. Communications in Information Literacy, 6(1), 24-33. doi: 10.15760/comminfolit.2012.6.1.115

May 4

Information Literacy Reflection

Reading through today’s course material was like walking through thick snow. But one sentence, in one of the readings, caught my attention and made it all a bit clearer.

By engaging with this modality of information, novices learn to act as practitioners, but they cannot become practitioners because they are removed from the reflexive and reflective embodied experiences and tensions arising from practice.”

– Lloyd, 2007, “Learning to act as a practitioner”

Lloyd’s article was about switching from the idea of Information Literacy (IL) as a set of skills and behaviours, to sociocultural construction of information and meaning, and whole body engagement with a range of modes. Context, Lloyd argues, is fundamental to what is learnt and how it is learnt.

I can relate to the quote above as I look back on my professional teaching practicum. As a student teacher, I was only acting like a real teacher, and never truly became a teacher until I experienced the real thing. Similarly, our students can never truly become information literate by simply ticking off a set of skills and behaviours. They must be fully immersed in authentic information literacy learning, in a variety of contexts, to become information “practitioners”.


Lloyd, A. (2007). Recasting information literacy as sociocultural practice: Implications for library and information science researchers. Information Research, 12(4). Retrieved from

May 4

An Extension of the Traditional Literacy Definition

Do new formats and delivery modes or multi-modal resources require users to have different literacy skills to make meaning or is this just an extension of the traditional literacy definition?

I think that the traditional elements of literacy – reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, understanding – encompass the skills required to make meaning of multi-modal resources. For example, students watching a video use viewing, reading and listening skills to make meaning from the video.

So, this is just an extension of the traditional literacy definition. I guess it might come to down to the students ability to transfer their literacy skills into new and different contexts, which are specified by different labels, for example, ‘information literacy’ or ‘music literacy’.

May 4

Definitions of Literacy

Does literacy mean competency or good at something? Has the term literacy become watered down? Or does it add another dimension of meaning and complexity when it is included in the term?

The traditional ‘literacy’ definition includes elements of reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, and understanding.

When you say that someone is not literate, or illiterate, in a specific area, it means they don’t have the skills, knowledge or understandings set out by the criteria of a literate person within that area. However, there are varying levels of competency – you can place any learner somewhere on a learning continuum. Even the best writer, for example, can still improve in some way, yet you would still say they are a competent writer, or that they are good at writing.

So, yes, including the term ‘literacy’ must add another dimension of meaning and complexity.

Write a definition of literacy.

Knowledge, skills and understandings about a topic’s context and applications.

April 29

Possibilities for Collaboration

What possibilities arise for collaboration between teachers and the teacher librarian?

In what ways could you begin to develop collaboration with teachers in your school?

Gibson-Langford (2008, p. 34) sets out a table outlining the guiding principles for building collaborative relationships.

Knowledge Creation – Knowledge is created:

  • when teachers learn together
  • when teachers are involved in critical dialogue
  • when teachers further their study
  • when teachers are appreciated
  • when teachers’ moral purpose is strong
  • through serious play and through reflective practice

Knowledge Sharing – Teachers/Teachers’:

  • prefer to share their knowledge in a social context
  • share their knowledge with reflective/critical friends
  • share their knowledge when feedback is frequent and critical
  • need time to share their knowledge
  • credibility influences how they share their knowledge
  • prefer informal structures when sharing their knowledge
  • reflective practice enables knowledge sharing

Knowledge Use

  • Teachers commit to new ideas that demonstrate relative and economic advantage
  • Level of abstraction is important to the adoption of new ideas
  • Teachers adopt new ideas through trialling
  • Observing new ideas in action influences how teachers’ use knowledge
  • Teachers use new ideas that are deemed effective

This set of guiding principles can be used to develop a variety of ways for teacher librarians to collaborate with teachers. For example, since teachers need time to share their knowledge in an informal setting, a period of time could be set aside each week/fortnight/month for teachers to sit down with the teacher librarian to share and learn together over a hot beverage, or a cold beverage in summer. This could be part of staff meetings, or during NIT lessons, or using ICT. Social media groups, emails or discussion boards could be used as time-efficient informal discussion spaces, giving staff the opportunity to collaborate outside of school hours. Due to the influence of a teacher’s perceived credibility or authority, it might be a good idea to divide into smaller, less threatening groups, or work one-on-one.

Since relative and economic advantage is an important factor in whether teachers adopt a new idea (Gibson-Langford, 2008, p. 35), a teacher librarian might be able to advertise their skills or knowledge to show teachers that collaborating with them can be of great benefit to them. This could take a digital form, for example, a section on the school library website. Teachers must be able to see that collaboration will be of benefit at its end point, so any collaborative practice should be well planned.


Gibson-Langford, L. (2008). Collaboration: Force or forced, part 2. Scan, 27(1), 31-37. Retrieved from;dn=166077;res=AEIPT

April 2

Are School Librarians an Endangered Species?

Bonanno’s glass half full approach to the TL’s position in the Australian education landscape is inspiring.

“Well funded and adequately staffed school libraries directly impact student achievement” (Bonanno, 2015, p. 17). Teacher librarians are an asset, as long as we showcase our value within our school community and context, continue to up-skill and improve (even if only for 5 minutes each day), and build strong relationships within and beyond our circle of influence.

No, school librarians are not an endangered species, unless we choose to be.


Bonanno, K. (2015). A profession at the tipping point (revisited). ACCESS, 29(1), 14-21. Retrieved from

March 9

Assessment Item 1: Online Reflective Journal Part B

Reflecting on your experiences as a teacher before you became interested in working in a school library, write about your understandings of the role of the TL in schools.

My teaching career began in the small Victorian town of Murrayville. If, travelling by car, you take the fastest route to Sydney from Adelaide, you’ll hit Murrayville twenty minutes after leaving South Australia. I grew up in the southern suburbs of Adelaide, so moving to a town with a population of less than 300 people (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018) and teaching my very first class was an eye-opening experience. I felt very isolated and homesick.

My unit in Murrayville.

My unit in Murrayville. (Source: Author)

As such, I cannot recall a great deal about the library, except that the librarian was a parent of one of the students in my class and she only worked part-time. My class would visit the library once a week. Students were allowed fifteen minutes to browse and the librarian scanned barcodes at the front desk. She would also advise students on appropriate book selection and help me put together a pile of non-fiction books relevant to our classroom theme.

I understand this to be a more traditional part of a TL’s role – assisting students to find the right book, modelling the use of the library’s digital loan and search systems and supporting classroom teachers with the selection and acquisition of non-fiction resources.

In July, after six months in Murrayville, I moved back to South Australia and began relief teaching in Port Augusta. There are six primary schools in town, as well as the Port Augusta Special School, Port Augusta Secondary School, two private schools and an area school about 40 minutes away.

Port Augusta from the Water Tower

The view of Port Augusta from the top of the Water Tower, an iconic town landmark. (Source: Author)

As I gradually visited each of the primary schools in town, the value placed upon their libraries quickly became obvious. Generally, libraries were tucked away. Unlike the Murrayville Community College library, and the library at Burra Community School (where I completed my fourth year practicum), the libraries were not busy research and discovery hubs. More often, they were a mess, uninviting and soulless.

Perhaps this is where my desire to become a TL began. When I walked into those libraries for the first time, I wanted to open the curtains and put in new furniture and stick big posters up on the wall and make exciting displays!

For the sake of this blog post, I’ll focus on the library at Willsden Primary School. It was at this school that I took on three different contracts and got to know the librarian. Again, she was a parent of two of my students. When I asked her about being a librarian, she told me she had no qualifications. She simply worked in the library as an SSO and gradually learnt information management skills along the way.

During my time at the school, the library’s collection underwent a major transformation. This is the second distinguishable part of a TL’s role – managing the school library collection. When the principal realised that parts of the collection were quite dated, and in some cases totally useless, a committee began sifting through, choosing which parts to keep and which parts to throw out. The collection was completely updated and reorganised to suit the needs of the school.

I do feel that my understanding of Teacher Librarianship is somewhat limited by my experiences. Beyond the facets of the role mentioned above, I think that TLs manage the physical library space, teach students to be library, ICT and information literate, manage Book Week celebrations and/or events and keep themselves and other staff up-to-date with the publishing industry, technology, current teaching pedagogies and the curriculum.


Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2018). 2016 Census QuickStats: Murrayville. Retrieved from

March 7

Determinism and the Information Society

While reading through learning module 2 (ETL401) there was a ‘Think and Reflect’ activity presented in relation to the Information Society.

A major issue relating to this technological perspective of the Information Society is the question of determinism. Who/what is driving technological change? Is it the inhabitants of the landscape or the technology? Has it reached a point where the technology itself drives the agenda or is society in control? Does society determine the rate of change or is society still trying to catch up?

Firstly, determinism?

A belief in the inevitability of causation.”

(Baumeister, R.F., 2009, para. 4)

So, the idea that everything that is going to happen, is going to happen, if that makes sense.

To me, this whole idea is terrifying. That the distinction between societal control of technology and technology’s control over society is blurring. And I suppose a time is coming, inevitably, when the distinction becomes indistinguishable … that is a scary thought!

Maybe I’ve watched The Terminator too many times.

I think that right now society is still in relative control of its technology and we, the inhabitants are driving the change according to how people wish to live – for example, having the latest iPhone or living a second life on social media. However, in some cases, society is still trying to catch up.

I think the world of education is a fine example. In many schools, students aren’t allowed to have their phones out, or even in their pocket. Understandably! Of course there is an appropriate time and place for the use of ICT. Yet, aren’t we trying to prepare students for real life? Real life in an information society means being connected 24/7.


Baumeister, R.F. (2009, February 15). Just Exactly What is Determinism? [Blog Post]. Retrieved from