May 1

Musings on the socio-cultural approach – how do you scale up successfully?

I have just finished the essential readings for the section on the Socio-Cultural Approach to Information Literacy:

Read (essential)

Lloyd, A. (2007). Recasting information literacy as sociocultural practice: Implications for library and information science researchers. Information Research, 12(4).
Farrell ,R. & Badke, W. (2015). Situating information literacy in the disciplines: A practical and systematic approach for academic librarians. Reference Services Review, 43(2). CSU Library.
Talja, S. & Lloyd, A. (2010). Integrating theories of learning, literacies and information practices. In Talja, S. & Lloyd, A. (2010). Practising information literacy: Bringing theories of learning, practice and information literacy together. Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies. pp. ix-xviii.

While I feel a pull towards the socio-cultural and constructivist philosophies and pedagogies, I have problems resolving some philosophical and practical considerations. I think one of my main philosophical objections with the constructivist and socio-cultural approaches are their sidelining or at least seeming repudiation of explicit instruction. I was encouraged recently by watching a John Hattie video clip that reminded me that I can embrace elements of theses approaches without abandoning elements of other approaches that resonate with my experience.

My main practical concern is how do we get there and how do we know if we have succeeded? How can the structure of public education change to incorporate this pedagogical philosophy and how can we assess socio-cultural teaching and learning on a large scale in an authentic way? For, while I think that different pedagogical philosophies can be integrated, I do not believe it is fair or effective to conduct the business of teaching and learning mainly under one pedagogical approach and then assess it according to methods developed to be consistent with another. That leads to my mixed emotions on watching a video clip from The Project which featured politicians and educational reformers discussing reforming Australian education to a more individualised learning structure that develops 21st century competencies – but still seemed to think the gains from that switch could be assessed using measures such as NAPLAN and PISA. (Though, to be fair, assessment was not really broached simply implied when lamenting Australia’s fall in global rankings.)

Does anyone have any good ideas or resources regarding assessment of socio-culturally situated teaching and learning that can be used on a national scale?