Archive of ‘ETL401 – Introduction to Teacher Librarian’ category

The light bulb moment

Image: Pixabay

As educators, we often talk about light bulb moments. They are the moments when we can see a fundamental shift in our student’s understanding and at that moment, we can see that they understand whatever it is they are trying to master. That bright smile that moves across the face of a student when they realise that they finally understand…that smile always makes me smile, even now as I type I can’t help but smile. I love those moments. Those moments are why I entered the teaching profession and they are why I stay. As a mother, I also get to see these moments in my children and I know that I am blessed to be able to see an abundance of these moments…and often the frustration that comes before it too.

It’s easy to forget how powerful these moments can be to a child who has struggled with a concept for a while and then finally gets it, or who even makes a new discovery on their own. I was reminded this week of that feeling when I too had my own light bulb moment. My TL journey has been an interesting one and one of a mixed bag of emotions. From that feeling of elation upon being accepted into the course, to frustration and stress during the assignment writing stage. But as I’ve begun to ‘re-calibrate’ (in my lecturer’s words) and have figured out how to fit study into my already busy life, I have begun to embrace my learning with a sense of calm and purpose. It’s here in this calm that I have begun to make connections between readings, modules and subjects. These connections are allowing me to see the bigger picture instead of small, fragmented pieces that don’t fit together, like in the early stages of my study. For me, it was as simple as recognizing the name of an important document in an e-mail and instinctively knowing what that document was without having to ‘Google’ it. It’s hearing a term or a process and finally understanding what it means and how it fits into the context of the TL role. It’s reading an article and being able to resonate with it, and then wanting to read more because now I finally understand.

Despite being at the very beginning of this journey, its comforting to know that those links are finally beginning to form. The future is looking bright!

Information literacy – an overview

If one searches for a definition for ‘information literacy’, they might be surprised to find that there are many different definitions of the term. It would appear that the way in which one defines the term differs depending on the context and purpose of the information. Furthermore, as the information environment changes and evolves, so too will the way in which we determine what constitutes information literacy.

The Behaviourist Approach to information literacy is concerned with the acquisition of skills and competencies required to be information literate. These skills include:

  • Recognise a need for information
  • Locate and evaluate the information
  • The ability to retrieve information and store it
  • The ability to use the information in an ethical manner
  • Use the information to create new knowledge and communicate this knowledge with others (Catts & Lau, 2008, p. 12)

On the other hand, the Sociocultural Approach focuses on the construction of knowledge through the interaction with the information environment and a shared experience (Lloyd, 2007). Collaboration and shared ways of interacting are communicating are considered paramount in the development of literacy within this approach (Talja & Lloyd, 2010). This approach challenges the traditional school of thought which assumes that learning is highly individual process.

Perhaps one of the challenges for educators is to use a combination of both approaches to developing informational literacy that will enable their students to become life-long learners and responsible and ethical users of information.


Catts, R., & Lau, J. (2008). Towards Information Literacy Indicators, UNESCO: Paris.

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

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. WaggaWagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies. pp. ix-xviii.

Information literacy as a sociocultural practice

This morning, I read the article “Recasting information literacy as a sociocultural practice: implications for library and information science researchers” by Anne Marie Lloyd. In this article, Lloyd suggests that rather than thinking about information literacy (IL) as a skills-based literacy, we should explore how IL can be used to construct meaningful learning in all contexts. This suggestion is based upon the findings of two studies which explore how emergency services officers in New South Wales, Australia use information as part of their training to either act or become a practitioner. The findings of the study helps to explain the way that the relationship with information changes when the learner moves from the epistemic mode of learning (text-based) toward the corporeal and social modalities (information obtained through experience and practical knowledge).

As a relatively new Masters student, this article resonated with me. At present, I am very much learning in the epistemic mode. I do not work in the context of a library or with other librarians and my learning is predominately text based. I often find it difficult to relate to what I am learning as I am learning it out of context. Lloyd suggests that IL learning is a sociocultural process which should not be limited to the epistemic mode only and I can certainly understand why. I wonder how much easier this course is for those who have some contextual understanding upon which to build their knowledge.

Lloyd’s article highlights the importance of teachers and TLs providing not only the epistemic mode of learning but also of providing opportunities for students to learn through the corporeal and social modalities in order to develop a holistic understanding of the concept or topic about which they are learning.


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

Using the ASLA guide to better understand the role of the TL

In 2014 and 2015 respectively, ASLA (Australian School Library Association) (2015) released two documents outlining professional standards of the TL for the proficient and accomplished stages. These documents were in response to AITSL’s (Australian Institute for Teachers and School Leaders) set of professional standards which were published in 2011 and link to the Australian Teaching standards. It is suggested that these guidelines be used to assist TLs to meet the accreditation standards at each level.

As a classroom teacher, I am familiar with AITSL’s (2017) professional standards for teachers. Despite having worked as a teacher for almost fifteen years, these standards are very useful and provide me with a means to evaluate my professional practice as well as a guide for how I might improve my practice moving forward.

As someone who is at the beginning of my TL journey, the ASLA Evidence Guide (2015) is an invaluable tool to help me develop a greater understanding of the role of the TL. My knowledge is still very limited at this early stage and these standards clearly outline what types of skills and knowledge I should be demonstrating in my role as a TL. Furthermore, it provides examples of what this looks like from a practical sense. Once I am working as a TL, using these standards will help me to see what else I should be incorporating into my practice, what I am doing well and what I need to continue working on moving forward.

Maria L. O’Toole provides a useful example of how to collect and share this evidence through her weebly: School Library Portfolio. I really like the way that Maria has used a contemporary tool to share her learning and the clear and concise way in which she has organized the standards.

The ASLA Evidence Guide (2015) will be a very useful document for me beginning my TL career and help me to have a clear picture of my role and how to be conditionally improving my professional practice.


AITSL (2017).  Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.  Retrieved from! 

Australian School Library Association (2015). Evidence guide for teacher librarians in the proficient career stage. Retrieved from

O’Toole, M. L. (n.d). School Library Portfolio. Retrieved from

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