We live in a world where the information landscape is constantly evolving. It is only now that I realise how important it is to stay abreast of this incredible platform and keep my skills relevant. Our readings in Module 2.3 demonstrated the need to have a great understanding of the broader information landscape and how incredibly important it is to educate and create digital literate students. Shenton explains it perfectly in her fourth paradox, when she states how students ‘follow a basic formula when finding and using information (Shenton, 2007). Students need greater instruction and guidance to be digitally literate. It was only when reading module 2 that I realised how much our students need a teacher librarian (TL) to respond to student needs and provide them with the tools to successfully navigate the information landscape. (module 2.1)
But this can’t be done in isolation. TLs need to work collaboratively with all facets of the educational community of their school to ensure students are being prepared adequately for the 21st century. As Lamb states, communication is key and it is of paramount importance that TLs are developing and fostering relationships within all areas of the school community (Lamb, 2011). I understand this is vital to the further success a TL will have in establishing a supportive and collegial environment that will essentially develop a culture of trust. When we have that trust, we can work with teachers and administrators to develop programs and support the curriculum (Purcell, 2010) (module 3.2) It’s such an exciting time to be a TL, but this is not a simple journey, nor one that ever sees our learning end.
When we blogged about Information Literacy (IL), we had to look at what literacy was. My traditional thinking was that literacy was those foundational skills of communication – reading, writing, speaking and listening (IL and TL role). However now in a digital age, these foundational literacies are the basis of skills that extend into multiple literacies that accommodate the complex digital landscape. So, it is no longer enough that our students can engage on a basic level of literacy and make meaning from text, they need to extend those skills to meet the demands of the Australian Curriculum and the 21st century skills embedded in these. What we learned is that IL is dependent on the context and purpose that IL is required, and essentially, schools need IL frameworks. To have a TL who can implement such a framework and embed it across the curriculum, resource it and collaborate with the teaching team, means we are becoming an increasingly important asset in a school setting!
The Australian School Library Association (ASLA) and the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) both stipulate that an IL framework in a school ‘ensures all targeted skills are identified and taught strategically within the context of the school’s curriculum’ (ASLA & ALIA, 2016). This evidently should inform best practice for library programs and services and as a TL, I plan to use the professional guidelines provided by these bodies, to guide me and my practice throughout my career.
Learning about Guided Inquiry learning has shown me how students can engage in much greater depth and experience authentic learning. It is a great opportunity to embed necessary skills and I feel like I am going to be able to contribute to my school in such a more meaningful and useful way. I love the idea of guiding students through the process of learning and showing them how to understand the process of gathering information more effectively, as the premise of GID suggests (Caspari, Kuhlthau and Maniotes, 2019). Seeing students become curious about their learning is incredibly rewarding. After speaking with fellow colleagues at my school about the implementation of GID, it did make question how it could be implemented in subjects that are content heavy, like physics for example. Or how could I implement it in my language classroom in a meaningful way? I think the context certainly dictates how and when we implement it and I think collaboration amongst faculties and administration can facilitate its implementation. But across all KLAs? It will be interesting to see just how successful we can be at implementing inquiry learning in schools.
What I have learnt in just one subject has shown me how ignorant I was and how much I didn’t know. I have already put some of what I’ve learnt into practice, and I feel incredibly proud. My confidence is growing and I know that with a clear understanding of Information Literacy and IL models now firmly sitting easy with me, I can help facilitate such wonderful opportunities in my school for both the staff and students. Thankfully, I have an incredibly supportive principal and I realise now how fortunate I am, based on what fellow peers have shared in their blogs and discussion forums of how their school is lacking such support. I actually can’t believe I thought I could be a TL with no former qualifications! It would have been like wearing a blindfold and I would have done my school community a disservice.
Australian School Library Association & Australian Library and Information Association, (2016). Information Literacy. Retrieved from https://www.asla.org.au/information-literacy
Caspari, A., Kuhlthau, C., & Maniotes, L. (2019). GID – Guided Inquiry Design. Retrieved from https://guidedinquirydesign.com/gid/
Holdaway, D. (1979).The foundations of literacy. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: Mixing a media specialist’s palette. TechTrends: Linking research & practice to improve learning, 55(4), 27-36. doi: 10.1007/s11528-011-0509-3
Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books, right? A look at the roles of a school library media specialist. Library Media Connection, 29(3), 30-33. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=288a18c4-4e6b-4471-8da7-9ef252bc522b%40sessionmgr103
Shenton, A.K. (2007). The paradoxical world of young people’s information behaviour. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(2) 1 -17.