Assessment Task 5 – Part B CRITICAL REFLECTION

My view of the role of the Teacher Librarian has changed dramatically since beginning this subject
When I first began the course, I really had a very limited understanding regarding a TLs role. I believe, even just in a matter of weeks, but with the extensive reading completed throughout the course, my ideas concerning the role has dramatically grown.
I believe that my initial understanding of a TL’s role came from my own personal experiences, both in my own education and during my teaching career. I developed a view based upon the best teacher librarians I had seen within an educational context – the highly enthusiastic, wide readers, who make creative links between the curriculum and written texts. It looked like lots of fun! I hadn’t really considered such things as the growth of electronic resources, collection development and policies, role verification, information literacy, collaboration and search processes. I saw my entry into this course as a new way that I could deal with students (without the ‘shhhhhhh’ stigma of course!). I also saw it as an exit out of the traditional classroom environment and into a new and different line of work.
It has been difficult at times to understand fully the role of the TL, due mainly to the fact I have no actual experience in this area. I found Lamb’s (2011) article that referred to the ‘palette’ of roles carried out by the TL to be a key reading in providing me with some understanding on how diverse the role is. It also provided me with some very practical ideas.
I understand that the role of the teacher librarian is one that will constantly change for years to come. Dependent upon many criteria, the role may be different from one TL to another. Aspects such as the school one is employed in, the constraints the TL must deal with in terms of budgets and environments, as well as the expectations from other teachers and the principal, can all affect how the role is carried out.
A completely new term for me was Information Literacy and due to the large amount of definitions out there, I found it hard to get my head around what it actually consisted of. I understood it to be an understanding of Information, but had little idea of how it could be taught, learnt and assessed. I found Barbara’s mindmap (2013) on Information Literacy extremely beneficial in explaining these factors. Being a highly visual learner, the presentation of a mind map made the facts much more concrete.
When looking at Information Search Process models, I became extremely confused and I found Assignment 2 to be incredibly difficult. Researching the two models was like searching for a needle in a haystack – there was so much to be found on Kuhlthau (and much written by herself) but I found it really difficult to find information on the NSW DET model of The Information Process. This confusion is apparent when you read my blog 2 task (OLJ, Blog Assignment Task 2), as I believed that Guided Inquiry and Kuhlthau’s ISP were one and the same. It wasn’t until I read a couple of the forum questions in the assignment forum and BC’s answers that a realised these two things are different. This fact had me rewriting half my assignment again, but it also made things a lot clearer.
When I reflect upon the last semester of study I have definitely found the subject worthwhile. I have really enjoyed learning and reading about teacher librarianship and about some ideas that were extremely new and unknown to me. I have found the CSU interact site interactive and have found the forums of extreme help. The subject leads me to ask myself the question – By learning more about teacher librarianship, has this made me want to be a teacher librarian? I’d have to say no, but it has opened my eyes to what I do want to achieve in my teaching career and its highlighted to me the immense responsibilities that teacher librarians have in the teaching and learning of information in the contemporary school environment. I think that by learning these things, I will have more of an appreciation of teacher librarians, especially when things are taught correctly (which is no easy task).
REFERENCES

Coombes, B. (2013) Information Literacy Skills Mind Map, Retrieved May 2, 2013, from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/portal/site/ETL401_201330_W_D/page/06ace263-10c7- 4bcf-00da-c0e3cdbc4c48
Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with potential: Mixing a media specialist’s palette. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 27-36.
Taylor, K. (2013, May 7) Blog Assignment 2 Implementing a Guided Inquiry Approach Retrieved from: https://dripsonpages.wordpress.com/

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BLOG TASK 3: Information Literacy is more than a Set of Skills

Information Literacy is so much more than a set of skills. Information Literacy involves a process. It is a means of developing skills in critical thinking and in problem solving, it is the means of developing a life long process of learning. Abilock (2004) further reiterates this idea, by stating that information literacy is “a transformational process in which the learner needs to find, understand, evaluate, and use information in various forms to create for personal, social or global purposes”(p.1).
It is easy to get bogged down in the huge amount of definitions of Information Literacy. Obviously it is not an easy term to define. A definition of Information Literacy that I have found which is concise and covers the major ideas is from The Stanford University website. The website defines Information Literacy as forming “the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning”. The terms in this definition that appeal are the sense that it is common to all disciplines& environments and is the basis of lifelong learning.
The terms “set of skills” conjures up definitions of skills achieved and set outcomes. Information Literacy is more than that, it is about moving through a process which involves a beginning, but the student may not come to a scheduled ‘end’. Information Literacy appears to require revising and reassessing information, selecting and discarding, as well as being able to produce a reflection of this process. But that process may not end there – for someone who is information literate, the process continues.
According to Eisenberg, Information Literacy requires structures that develop relevance and transferability in students learning. We see this transferability referred to in the Stanford University definition which states that the process is common to all disciplines, learning environments and education levels. Someone who is Information Literate can take the same skills they use to research one subject, into another. From one level of education into the next.
The NSW DET model shows this transferability by illustrating the model in a circular diagram with double ended arrows, meaning one can travel backwards and forwards throughout the process. Although the NSW DET model does provide a set of objectives – these objectives do not refer to the final product. They are merely a way teachers can assess that a student is actually moving through the process.
In conclusion, information literacy is not just a set of skills to be acquired, it is a continual process of acquiring experiences that allow for a development of skills, attitudes and behaviours. This development of skills will lead to a process of life long learning that can cross a multitude of situations.

REFERENCES
Abilock, D. (2004) Information literacy: an overview of design, process and outcomes. NoodleTools. Retrieved from: http://www.noodletools.com/debbie/literacies/information/1over/infolit1.html

Eisenberg, M.B.(2008) Information Literacy: Essential Skills for the Information Age. Journal of Library & Information Technology, 28(2), pp.39-47.

NSW DET (2007) The Information Process. Retrieved from: http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/schoollibraries/index.htm

Stanford University (2013) Definition of Information Literacy. Retrieved from: http://skil.stanford.edu/intro/research.html

Blog Assignment 2

3D Character and Question MarkIMPLEMENTING A GUIDED INQUIRY APPROACH

Guided Inquiry is a planned and supervised process which aims to guide students through curriculum based inquiry units that build deep knowledge and deep understanding of a curriculum topic, and gradually lead towards independent learning (Kuhlthau & Todd).
Guided Inquiry is grounded in the constructivist approach to learning and is based on extensive studies of the Information Search Process (ISP) developed by Kuhlthau in 1985. (Kuhlthau & Maniotes, 2010)
Guided Inquiry, which has been described as a journey by Scheffers, is a process that allows students to learn to think for themselves, make decisions and develop the skills and expertise that they will be able to use in further situations within their lives. It allows students the opportunity to become actively engaged in their own learning.
Examples of Guided inquiry in practice in schools like Broughton Anglican College (Sheerman, 2011) and Caddies Creek Public School (Sheffers, 2008), provide evidence of the positive results that can be achieved through this process.
Guided Inquiry involves 7 key stages of learning that are used to guide students through the researching process. These are Initiation, Selection, Exploration, Formulation, Collection, Presentation and Assessment.
A key component leading to the success of such a program (and further proven through the examples written about by Sheerman and Sheffers) is the importance of collaboration. These positive results were only possible due to the collaboration of a team of teachers working together to assist the students involved. For Guided Inquiry to work effectively there is a need to advocate for a whole school change, where all staff are involved, and providing a whole team approach to learning. The vital role of the teacher librarian as an active member in the teaching and learning team was also apparent. Kuhlthau (2010) describes Guided Inquiry as providing scope for a ‘synergy of ideas’ (p.19) as it allows teaching team members to share their expertise, and share planning, teaching and supervisory roles.
Collaboration can also include individuals outside the school with the possibilities of community members and other experts who can offer students even further information (Kuhlthau, 2010, p19). This allows for the learning experiences to be real, allowing links to the ‘wider world’ and making this approach a more significant experience for students.
What is the role of the Teacher Librarian in regards to Guided Inquiry? The ISP model allows the Teacher Librarian to be both a teacher and resourcer of the curriculum. By working with the teaching team, classroom teachers may learn more about Information Literacy from the Teacher Librarian (therefore fulfilling the role of TL as school leader) and the Teacher lIbrarian will also be able to assess student’s on their information literacy skills (Kuhlthau and Maniotes p20).
Collaboration, being so important in the Guided Inquiry approach, may mean TL’s are required to put in the ‘hard yards’ in order for every one within the school to see that the approach is of benefit to students. In schools, where teacher directed learning is the norm, it may be difficult to change some teacher’s opinions and allow them to lose some control typical of teacher directed instruction. The evidence shows that Guided Inquiry is a beneficial approach for most students, allowing for even lower ability students to achieve (Sheerman, Little & Breward, 2011,p 4).

References
Kuhlthau, C. & Todd, R. accessed icwc.wikispaces.com/file/view/Guided+Inquiry.doc
•Kuhlthau, C. & Maniotes, L. (2010). Building Guided Inquiry Teams for 21st-Century Learners. School Library Monthly, 26(5), 18-21.
•Scheffers, J. (2008). Guided inquiry: A learning journey. Scan, 27(4), 34-42.
•Sheerman, A. (2011). Accepting the challenge: Evidence based practice at Broughton Anglican College. Scan, 30(2), 24-33.
•Sheerman, A., Little, J., & Breward, N. (2011). iInquire… iLearn… iCreate… iShare: Guided Inquiry at Broughton Anglican College. Scan, 30(1), 4-5.