ETL401 Assessment 3 – part C – a critical reflection

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My understanding of information literacy (IL), IL models and the role of the TL in inquiry learning has grown immensely during ETL401. At the beginning  I believed  IL was being able to read and write. However, my understanding progressed (Silver, 2019a) as I became aware that IL was the ability to find, evaluate and use information (Loftis, 2015). I also learnt digital natives need to be specifically taught how to use digital tools for information needs (Coombes, 2009, p.36). Furthermore, I  gained an understanding of different types of literacies, including digital, ICT and networked . However, IL is far more than that ,  IL also needs to include ethics, an ability to critically evaluate information and include critical thinking skills. My greatest learning moment was- to be fully literate, a person needs to be able to make meaning from the information (Combes, 2016). There are many elements that make up IL, it is complex and  much more than just being able to read and write.

Previously I was aware of the NSW ISP IL model. I now have a more thorough understanding of a range of research based information literacy models and how they help students (Silver, 2019c).

I was surprised with the research by Chen, Huang and Chen (2017), summarised in Forum 4.1a (Silver, 2019d) that inquiry based learning through IL models (in this case Big 6 and Super 3) helped low to mid ability students to achieve better results. Previously I believed  IL models were most beneficial for high academic performers, I  now see the benefit of IL models for all students. It also highlighted to me the importance of creating an information literacy continuum for student growth and achievement.

I  identified with Yvette Stile’s (2019) blog post on IL units . After reading  Yvette’s lightbulb moment I realised my teaching of the NSW ISP model was aimed primarily at content. I shared on forum 5.3b (Silver, 2019e) that I had focused too much on content but it was the process of learning the elements of the ISP model that was important. My teachings had been driven by the end content, which had created a disengagement from the process by the students. I was able to identify with the affective elements for the stages of the ISP process (Todd, Kuhlthau & Heinstrom, 2005) in finding and using information for assessment two (Silver, 2019f).

In the beginning I knew very little about inquiry learning. As the course  progressed, I have learnt several factors required for the TL to be able to promote inquiry learning. To begin with, the TL needs to collaborate with other teachers, which is impacted by perceptions of the TL (Silver, 2019g), and the expectations of the Principal (Silver, 2019h).

I now understand that the TL has a role to support students to gain deeper understanding and knowledge in inquiry learning (Silver, 2019e), rarely should they be “going it alone” (Kuhlthau, Maniotes, & Caspari, 2012). One way this may be achieved is by helping student’s in their ‘zone of proximal development’. Although I have learnt a great deal about IL there is still a large scope for broadening and deepening my knowledge in this field.



Cheng, C.C., Huang, T. & Chen. Y. (2017). The effects of inquiry-based information literacy instruction on memory and comprehension: A longitudinal study. Library & Science Information Research, 39(4), 256-266. Retrieved from

Combes, B. (2009). Generation Y: Are they really digital natives or more like digital refugees? Synergy, 7(1), 31-40. Retrieved from

Combes, B. (2016). Information: change and issues [webinar]. Retrieved from

Loftis,E. (2015). Information literacy [Video file]. Retrieved from:

Kuhlthau, C., Maniotes, L., & Caspari, A. (2012). Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework for Inquiry in Your School. Retrieved from Proquest Ebook Central.

Silver, T. (2019a, April 22). My increasing awareness of the role of the TL [blog post]. Retrieved from

Silver, T. (2019b, May 24). What is information literacy? [blog post]. Retrieved from

Silver, T. (2019c, May 24). Information literacy models [blog post]. Retrieved from

Silver, T. (2019d, May 10). Forum 4.1a: Search activity [online discussion comment]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University website:

Silver, T. (2019e, May 20). Forum 5.3b Guided Inquiry [online discussion comment]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University website:

Silver, T. (2019f, April 22). The research rollercoaster [blog post]. Retrieved from

Silver, T. (2019g, March 14). The perceived role of the teacher librarian? [blog post]. Retrieved from

Silver, T. (2019h, April 22). Collaboration and cooperation [blog post]. Retrieved from

Stiles, Y. (2019, May 20). Two false starts and a light bulb [blog post]. Retrieved from


What is information literacy?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

The Oxford Dictionary online (2019) defines literacy as:

  • The ability to read and write
  • Competence or knowledge in a specific area

Before beginning this course I had a very shallow view of literacy and agreed with the Oxford Dictionary of the definition of literacy as being able to read and write. I can also now see that literacy  also combines a competence or knowledge in a specific area and literacy now includes many areas such as:

Digital literacy

Network literacy

ICT literacy

Multimedia literacy


New formats and modes of delivery require users to have different skills but all of the literacy types can work together to create understanding (one of the key concepts in literacy).

To be truly literate a person must be able to understand and make meaning from what they have encountered – whether it be in writing, reading, listening, viewing or speaking (Combes, 2016). They need to be information literate (IL).

Based various definitions given by CILIP (n.d) my own definition of information literacy  is the ability to find and critically evaluate information to use it in an ethical manner to enable the user to effectively participate and positively contribute in a digital/information literate society.

Whilst reading, this quote by Brown and Mathie (1990) jumped out at me ‘Truly literate people are thinkers and learners’. This led me to thinking about the Critical and Creative Thinking skills in the Australian Curriculum and NSW Syllabuses and how important it is to structure these skills into the information search process to allow people to be information literate.

According to Bruce, Edwards & Lupton (2006) people will view information literacy differently depending on their context, for example a student may view IL as finding facts whereas an academic may view it as a set of skills. They propose six frames for viewing IL – Content, competency, learning to learn, personal relevance, social impact and relational. Depending on which frame is being used will impact on what is the focus of learning, content and assessment.

Herring (2007) believes that developing information literacy in schools is one of the main duties of the TL today. But what is the best way to do this? Many believe through an inquiry model and guided Inquiry Design in particular.

Information literacy is a complex issue with many parts, understanding a definition of it is just a start.


Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)(n.d). Australian Curriculum: General capabilities. Retrieved from

Combes, B. (2016). Information: change and issues. [webinar]. Retrieved from

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). doi.10.11120/ital.2006.05010002

Brown, H., & Mathie, V. (1990). Inside whole language: a classroom view. Primary English Teaching Association (Australia); Rozelle, N.S.W.

Chartered Institute of Library Information Professionals (CILIP)(n.d.). Definitions and models. Retrieved from

Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries in the twenty-first century : charting new directions in information (pp. 27-42). Wagga Wagga , NSW : Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University. Retrieved from  https://www-sciencedirect-com.

NSW Education Standards Authority. (NESA) (2017). K–6 syllabuses and resources. Retrieved from

Oxford English Dictionary Online (2019). Literacy. Retrieved from