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How can we raise information literacy levels in the secondary school? - Carol Webb

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Presented at LILAC 2015

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How can we raise information literacy levels in the secondary school? - Carol Webb

  1. 1. How can we raise information literacy levels in a secondary school? Dr. Carol Webb FCLIP Forest Hill School Lilac 2015
  2. 2. Research Questions • Practitioner research • Exploring teacher perspective • What does it mean to be information literate and is it changing in the new technological age? • How can librarians and teachers work together to raise information literacy levels? • What is the role of the librarian in raising information literacy in the school for both teachers and students? • What is the understanding among teachers of the importance of information literacy and of the role librarians can perform in the teaching and learning of this subject?
  3. 3. Significant outcomes • Contextualisation – The meaning of IL is contingent on the context in which the skills are being deployed. • Information Literacy Capacity • Role of the librarian
  4. 4. Methodology • Secondary school setting + small in scale • Participant researcher • Respondents’ validation • Twelve teacher voices – a range of age, experience and subject specialisms – With and without experience of working with the librarian
  5. 5. Factual Findings • Information has a specific role in a subject discipline. • It is understood and its use taught, through that subject lens, by the teacher. Classroom-based, didactic, staff-led cognitive authority Iterative, student-led inquiry + cognitive authority open to question IL Teaching Styles
  6. 6. Conceptual outcome 1: The meaning of information literacy • In History: ‘…although the skills are transferable they’re not identical and we do want to emphasise different… The importance of one skill in history might far outweigh another.’ • In Science: ‘the ability of students to look at information in a range of formats, text, tables and graphs and to construct meaning…’ • In Art: ‘It would be an emotional response…I’m interested in not going to the text because we’re visual…the information, it dictates our responses and our connections’
  7. 7. Conceptual outcome 2: Instrument – Information Literacy Capacity Capacity Learner Attainment Characteristics Ability Teacher Role 5 Metacognition: self-awareness as a learner Critical thinking, tests methods and consciously hones skill Adapts and integrates for own use and articulates personal impact Accommodate student autonomy 4 Understands complexity and has coping strategies Selects appropriate technique and shows critical thinking Confident in making choices and testing them Provide opportunities for independent application 3 Adapts skills to different contexts Understands differences Discusses principles/rules for different subject contexts Guide practice examining use in other contexts 2 Awareness of transfer Connects with previous experience Needs prompting and support to make explicit link to other experiences Guide practice using knowledge of work in other subjects 1 A trained behaviour Knowledge of resource e.g. a dictionary No transfer, personal selection or autonomy of thought Close direction (Bloom and Krathwohl 1956; Nisbet and Shucksmith 1986; Perkins and Salomon 1989; Beyer 1997; Limberg 2007)
  8. 8. Transfer of Learning • “low road” and “high road” (Perkins and Salomon 1989, p.22) • Elements need to be examined and their applicability in other contexts explored (Nisbet and Shucksmith 1986, p.21) • Practice these skills in “ever-widening variety of contexts” (Beyer 1997 p.272)
  9. 9. Transfer of learning Current strategies include: • Modelling (Teacher A and C); • Cross-curricular teaching of a topic (Teacher D); • Discussion to make links between use in different subjects (Teacher G); • Consistent use of language by teachers in one department team (Teacher C) • Only the latter had been monitored for effectiveness. • No widespread recognition of strategies and little is systematically implemented. Complicated by: – A limited knowledge of how the deployment of a skill changes from one subject area to another.
  10. 10. Overview of factual findings • Progress to greater capacity complicated by – low teacher awareness of IL – Constraints of time, curriculum priorities and academic monitoring requirements • Knowledge and strategies needed for teaching transfer of learning not widespread. • Teaching of search (library context) is almost entirely absent from subject teaching.
  11. 11. Teacher Perspective: Librarian Role • The librarian’s role in resourcing the curriculum is valued for the way • it supports teachers, • provides students with many more information-handling opportunities • and opens up the cognitive authority of knowledge to questioning. • Role of the library in a school setting is valued for • the support it gives students outside of lesson times and • how it helps student develop their reading to underpin wider literacy skills.
  12. 12. Teacher Perspective: Librarian Role Teachers value the librarian’s teaching role when: • their knowledge and skills improve the quality of student outcomes; • if they have a knowledge of student needs for differentiation purposes; • are able to activate prior learning; • and employ some of the subject specific language in support of the teacher’s goals.
  13. 13. Continuum for Librarian’s Collaboration Role with Teachers Counselor Tutor Instructor Lecturer Organiser Integration Co-ordination (Montiel-Overall 2005; Kuhlthau 1993)
  14. 14. Complications of field • Low confidence of librarians in teaching role (Streatfield, Shaper and Rae-Scott 2010) • Absence of empirically tested pedagogy used in schools relating to information literacy, particularly – Synthesis and Assessment
  15. 15. Implications for librarians • Teaching needs to be subject situated and task relevant. • Librarians need knowledge of: differentiation; student understanding of skill/topic; task objective; subject specific language; assessment criteria; resources. • Awareness of principles and rules for deployment of skills in different subject areas. • Need to re-conceptualise search: intellectual Vs mechanics. • Librarian roles of resourcing and developing readers in relation to questioning cognitive authority of knowledge. • Wider profession needs to develop a vision of IL that reflects a multiplicity of contexts (other than library) enabling other communities to find resonance with their practice.
  16. 16. Future research • Uses and responses to Table for IL Capacity • Need to empirically test pedagogy • Identify action images for disseminating practice • Study deployment of IL skills in different subject contexts to identify principles and rules • Re-conceptualise Search
  17. 17. Bibliography Beyer, B. (1997) Improving student thinking: a cognitive approach. Needham Heights: Allyn & Bacon. Bloom, B. S. and Krathwohl, D.A. (1956) Taxonomy of educational objects. Vols 1 & 2. London: Green & Co Ltd. Kuhlthau, C.C. (1993) Seeking meaning: a process approach to library and information services. Westport, Connecticut: Ablex Publishing. Limberg, L. (2007) ‘Learning assignment as task in information seeking research’, Information Research, 12 (4), pp.1-11. Montiel-Overall, P. (2005) ‘A theoretical understanding of teacher and librarian collaboration (TLC)’, School Libraries Worldwide, 11 (2), pp.24-48. Nisbet, J. and Shucksmith, J. (1986) Learning strategies. London: Routledge. Perkins, D. N. and Salomon, G. (1989) ‘Are cognitive skills context-bound?’ Educational Researcher, 18 (1) pp.16-25. Streatfield, D., Shaper, S. and Rae-Scott, S. (2010) School libraries in the UK: a worthwhile past, a difficult present – and a transformed future? Main Report of the UK Survey. [Online]. Available at http://www.informat.org/slpsurvey/ (Accessed: 20 December 2012).

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