Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Whole School Information Literacy

Embedding Information Literacy into the school curriculum should be the best way to ensure that all children have the right skills to become independent learners. I truly believe that this is what we, as school librarians, should be striving for.

To be an independent learner is to Learn and to be taught how to do it yourself


So what is Information Literacy?

CILIP's definition of information literacy:
Information literacy is knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner.
This definition implies several skills. We believe that the skills (or competencies) that are required to be information literate require an understanding of:
  • A need for information
  • The resources available
  • How to find information
  • The need to evaluate results
  • How to work with or exploit results
  • Ethics and responsibility of use
  • How to communicate or share your findings
  • How to manage your finding
Another explanation that may be better is this:-

“mastery of the processes of becoming informed” – mastery needs to be demonstrated (.i.e., we need to be sure that they can), the processes can be identified and described (i.e., enquiry model and information literacy skills in framework), mastery of the processes serves a need/purpose (i.e., becoming informed). Thanks to Darryl Toerien from Oakham school.

Over the last year I have been trying to introduce a whole school information literacy into one of my primary schools so that we can role it out to all primary schools throughout Guernsey. Along with my colleagues we came up with a list of skills that all students should have in each year group the idea was to then link that to projects the teachers were doing in that year.  It has been ok but not the wonderful ideal that I had in mind because I have had to ask the teacher to think of a lesson that it could be appropriate for and  having a one off lesson does not embed the good skills for that whole year. It is important that it is used and embedded throughout all other curriculum areas for that year group. It has been impossible to insist or be there to encourage good practice all the time so even though the idea is there it has a long way to go.

 I also approached the head of our biggest secondary school with the same idea and it fell on deaf ears as they didn't really understand the concept. They feel that they are creating independent learners but as a lot of schools teach to the test it is not necessary to teach information literacy. I had not come up with a well thought out plan but was using the information I found from Sue Baston's PowerPoint Sue has created a great base for implementing a whole school information literacy programme and she is absolutely correct in saying that it is very important to get the senior management team on board.  I should have created a much better outline of a plan to implement this so that they could understand what I was trying to achieve. I will know better next time.
About a month ago I was invited by the secondary school's new learning coordinator to join a group called Independent Learning Group which as 2 teachers on it. I was asked if I could think of a plan that they could help implement......you guessed it....the whole school information literacy programme. I now had to come up with what I thought we could do to get started....oh dear..

Wonders will never cease but right on cue  I was contacted by Darryl Toerien the librarian from Oakham school. I met him when he ran a course I was on for the IB programme and we had talked about information literacy programmes. He has come up with an amazing idea of creating a whole school curriculum map and integrating information literacy into it. He is working with the man who is setting up Mondrian Wall which is a programme for curriculum mapping and is integrating a whole school information literacy programme into it. Merging these two ideas is the perfect way to make sure that information literacy is embedded into the whole curriculum.  Darryl is happy to talk to my teachers by Skype and even come over to explain how it would all work and share his ideas and work with me. I can't believe that this seems to be falling into place just by having a conversation with someone. If we can get it into one secondary school then hopefully we can get it into the other secondary and primary schools as well. It has the potential to be huge!

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