Assessing information literacy and inquiry learning in regard to the practice of Teacher Librarians
In 1974, Paul Zurkowski originally used the term ‘Information Literacy’ in a paper presented to the US National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, the paper illustrated information literacy as an ‘individual’s capacity to use information tools and primary sources to address problems’ (Bruce, 1997, p. 5).
Information literacy is, according to Lloyd, “to know when there is a need for information, access and evaluate information, to think about information, and to demonstrate and document the process of that thinking”, (Lloyd, 2007, p. 182).
With today’s hyper profusion of evolving data, quality information literacy must become a key focus of my teacher-librarianship, by imparting competencies in my students that provides for the application of critical thinking and inquiry learning. No traditional fifty minute instructional lesson on information seeking strategies can give students the awareness they need for the encounters of today's information environment (Manuel, 2007. p. 127).
Kahlthau states that ‘teacher-librarians play a vital role in creating inquiry learning’ through information literacy instruction programs (Thomas, Crow & Franklin, 2011. p. 167). My instructional methodology must create learning activities that assist students in discovering concepts and understanding information, rather than allowing them to rely on rote information in textbooks.
Information literacy must encompass all mediums that will be presented to students, and be entrenched into the institutions online learning framework to achieve results (Ferguson, 2009. p. 25), to be proficient in transliteracy, embracing the use of all the developing information Medias, not just skills in using journals and databases (Newman, 2010). However no matter what the source, students must be taught to work through a checklist of criteria such as accuracy, bias, and timeliness of a source, to ask meaningful questions in relation to the work they are critiquing.
This instructional methodology should give students the skills needed to become information literate, however, the ALIA/ASLA professional standard 2.4 Evaluation - states that excellent teacher librarians: ‘evaluate student learning to provide evidence of progress in information literacy and reading’ (ALIA/ASLA, 2004).
Therefore as a diagnostic tool, assessment of information literacy learning must be used to evaluate programs in regard to student and programme effectiveness (Lupton, 2004. p. 19). This assessment must be implemented in order to avoid perpetuating a divide between information literacy and the curriculum.
The most successful assessment techniques are those that can be folded into the inquiry process without interrupting the process of learning (Kahlthu, Caspari & Maniotes, 2007, p, 131) the purpose of assessment is to identify if learning has taken place and where students need guidance and instruction.
As Callison (cited in Thomas, Crow & Franklin, 2011. p. 168) states, all teacher-librarians must aid students in developing metacognitive thinking in their transliterate world, take advantage of the relationship between critical thinking, information skills instruction and inquiry learning, to go beyond lessons that only supports the search and recall of ‘facts’, or correct answers that camouflage incorrect ideas (Burns, 2005).
In giving students the tools to think critically, evaluative and utilise information in order to apply, question and understand, I must as a teacher-librarian, together with teaching teams, empower students to be able to use these abilities in “lifelong learning”, assisting them to continue independently long after they have left the academic arena.
The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the Australian School
Library Association (ASLA) (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians, retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.htm
Bruce, C. (1997). The seven faces of information literacy. Blackwood, South
Australia: Auslib Press
Burns, M. (2005). Looking at How Students Reason. Educational Leadership, 63(3),
26. retrieved from EBSCOhost
Ferguson, A. (2009). Information literacy skills for undergraduates at Charles Sturt
University. University Libraries. InCite: News magazine of the Australian Library and Information Association 30(9), 24-25
Kahlthu, C. C., Caspari, A. K. & Maniotes, L. K. (2007). Assessment in guided
inquiry. In Guided inquiry: learning in the 21st century (pp. 111-131). Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited.
Lloyd, A. (2007), Learning to put out the red stuff; becoming information literate
through discursive practice. Library Quarterly, 77(2), pp. 181–198p. Retreved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=5&hid=107&sid=baaba009-837d-46a2-af96-40cad88568f9%40sessionmgr111
Lupton, M. (2004). The learning connection: Information literacy and the student
experience. Blackwood, South Australia: Auslib Press.
Manuel, K. (2007). Creating and using an information literacy toolkit for faculty. In
Clayton, S. J. (Ed.), Going the Distance: Library instruction for remote learners (pp. 125-138). London: Neal–Schuman Publishers.
Newman, B. L. (2010). The Role of Libraries in a Transliterate World.
Retrieved from http://librariesandtransliteracy.wordpress.com/2010/11/15/the-role-of-libraries-in-a-transliterate-world-new-york-metropolitan-library-council/
Thomas, N.P., Crow S.R. & Franklin, L.L. (2011). Information literacy and
information skills instruction: Applying research to practice in the 21st century school library (3rd Ed.). Santa Barbara, California: Libraries Unlimited.