Prior to the commencement of this subject I really had only a very basic knowledge of the importance of Information Literacy (IL), and had only briefly been exposed to one IL model, namely the Guided Inquiry Design process. Now my understanding of IL and my exposure to IL models has really highlighted to me the significant role that the Teacher Librarian (TL) plays in inquiry learning and in supporting the school community.
How has My Understanding of IL expanded?
In my blog on What I can take from the discussion of Information Literacy to my role in the school I commented on the fact that I saw IL as complex, and this was reinforced to me through the fact that there is no one definition for it. It was at this point though that I began to appreciate its importance in student learning. IL, and the focus on facilitating lifelong learning so that individuals are well equipped as citizens in the modern world, resonated deeply with me. In the subject learning materials Module 5: Information Literacy I appreciated UNESCO’s view of IL as being part of the lifelong learning process and a basic human right that empowers individuals. The global interest in IL, and its support and acknowledgement by global institutions, reinforced my appreciation of its significance. As my own understanding and appreciation of IL evolves, I realise that as a teacher I’m facilitating the IL of my students everyday. However as a TL, I have the ability to influence the IL of the entire school community through my leadership and collaboration with colleagues. The fact that I only now appreciate the importance of IL means that this is not yet being addressed adequately enough by my school. As professionals who are given the responsibility of preparing and equipping students for a productive life, IL needs to be at the front and centre of our everyday work.
How has my understanding of IL models expanded?
My appreciation for what is required to successfully implement an IL model was challenged in Discussion forum 5.4a Information literacy where the question was asked: What challenges lie in the way of moving towards an integrated information literacy instruction? I commented that what Elyse McMaster wrote in the forum really resonated with me. Prior to that I had not considered the time logistics involved. Elyse wrote that the challenges included sufficient time for professional development, time for collaboration and planning and time for review. (McMaster, 2019) It was at that point that I saw this from a practical day to day school perspective, and agreed that such challenges are always present for any new program being developed and delivered. In my blog post Guided Inquiry Design I commented on the value I saw in the GID process and its benefits to students through them learning how to learn, and understanding their own learning as suggested by Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari (2012).
The TL role in inquiry learning
In Discussion forum 4.1b: Inquiry Learning I wrote about the fact that my school is in the process of implementing Project Based Learning (PBL) for Year 7. The response to my writing made it clear that I needed to further my understanding of inquiry learning for my future role as TL. I was reminded in Judy O’Connell’s response that PBL does not equal inquiry learning, and that as TL my contribution needed to ensure that sufficient information seeking process, and correct scaffolding for students’ inquiry learning was essential. It also highlighted to me that my understanding of IL and inquiry learning is still in its infancy. As a TL my understanding will continually evolve over time, as will my experience with IL and inquiry learning. I need to be willing to adjust my thinking and practice of IL in line with new developments and in response to reflections and evaluation of school community needs. In my blog post Reflecting on Information literacy in practice.I wrote in response to Lori’ Korodajs post that detailed how the programs they use morph from year to year according to student need and feedback. I agreed that this modifying and changing of programs is a necessary role for the TL. My understanding has expanded and I now see the TL as the key promotor of IL and chief collaborator in implementing inquiry learning in schools. This was highlighted by me in Discussion forum 4.3 the TL and Curriculum where I commented on the significant role that the TL plays in guiding teachers with curriculum.
United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation. (2005) Alexandria Proclamation. Retrieved from https://www.ifla.org/publications/beacons-of-the-information-society-the-alexandria-proclamation-on-information-literacy
Kuhlthau, C. C, Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2012). Guided inquiry design: A framework for inquiry in your school. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited