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This paper presents the case that teacher librarians have many advantages over their library colleagues in the development of user education programs. It is argued that a piecemeal approach to the education of school library users is bound to be unsuccessful, and that the multilevel approach to the attainment of information literacy among teaching staff and students, that has been orchestrated i n Australia, provides the pathway and incentive for the education of effective information users. In this paper, reference is made to developments at the national and state levels including comment upon the emerging National Curriculum Profiles and Key Competencies which emphasise the process of learning, in particular, information skills as essential outcomes. The recently released Curriculum Corporation document Learning for the Future which provides guidelines for the development of information services in Australian schools will be examined. It will be argued that at the school level and emphasis must be placed in Defining information tasks, both from the perspective of teacher and student. An attempt to transform students who are inefficient library users will be unproductive u nless teacher model the skills of independent learning.
The relationship between librarian and client is a complex one which is influenced by a range of factors. Most librarians accept that they not only have a responsibility to provide quality information services but also to educate their library users with respect to the effective use of those library services and products. Some decades past this task was simple, in today's information overloaded society, it is a demanding and complex challenge. When it comes to school library use, teacher librarians (TLs) have three key advantages over their colleagues who work in other types of libraries. The first advantage is provided by the fact that TLs have a captive clientele. Teachers and school students spend a considerable amount of time at school and most are required to make use of librar y services and products each week. The second advantage is that if school students want to be successful they will need to be effective information users. Likewise, quality teachers underpin their teaching strategies and their program planning through the effective use of information. Furthermore, they see the advantages of modelling good practice to their students. The third advantage, that TLs have, is that they are qualified teachers as well as librarians. For the large majority of TLs, teaching is their first and enduring love. Specialisation in librarianship is not a career change but rather provides the means for improving the delivery of effective teaching and learning.
TLs have advantages in the quest for educating information users but the fact remains that the task is fraught with danger. The TL is usually professionally isolated, overworked and misunderstood. In these situations, TLs often find that their relationship with students is very much divorced from what occurs in the classroom and user education may become an exercise in "busy work". The TL who concentrates on providing user education through library skills lessons fails to understand that skills are best taught at the point of need and of relevance. Skills should be taught functionally and in the context of a topic of study, rather than as a separate exercise. When user education is integrated into the mainstream curriculum it becomes meaningful. In that context, students and teac hers are enabled to satisfy their changing information needs, pursue independent lifelong learning and contribute to the development of an informed society. When a student knows how to learn using a wide range of information services and products, he/she is information literate.
Since 1989 all Australian state and territory governments have adopted common and agreed goals for Australian schools. These goals focus on knowledge, skills and values. During the 1990s the national focus has identified skills for lifelong learning as the key competencies underpinning effective learning at school as well as effective workplace participation. These information based competenc ies have been identified as the across curriculum perspectives that underpin each of the key learning areas (KLAs) identified in the national curriculum statements and profiles. The development of a national curriculum has given emphasis to the process of learning (as opposed to products of learning) through the inclusion of process strands in many of the KLA Profiles. The following Key Compete ncies have been identified as the essential skills necessary for young Australians to participate effectively in the 'emerging forms of work and work organisation'. They include: collecting, analysing and organising information; communicating ideas and information; planning and organising activities; working with others and in teams; using mathematical ideas and techniques; solving problems; and using technology. The Australian Key Competencies focus on the capacity to 'apply knowledge and skills in an integrated way in work situations', and are comparable with the UK Core Skills, the US Workplace Know How and the NZ Essential Skills. (1)
Learning For The Future published by the Curriculum Corporation in 1993 provides a context for the development of library and information services in Australian schools that will meet the needs of the information age. (2) Information is placed centre stage:
The need to be able to use information effectively has in many cases become more important than the acquiring of factual knowledge itself. The sum total of information increases at such a rate each day that yesterday's best answer may be known to be incorrect today....Effective learners are not just those people who are knowledgeable but rather they are people who are able to find and use infor mation as required...the ability to process and use information effectively is more than a basic tool for the empowerment of school students: it is in fact the basic survival skill for those who wish to be successful in the 1990s and beyond. (3) Learning For The Future addresses educational decision makers and school communities, offering a process whereby decisions about the resourcing implications of learning programs can be determined. This document provides guidelines and frameworks for answering the needs of teachers and students within a resource- based environment. Appendix 1 illustrates the domains and process framework used in Learning For The Future for the discussion of information services. The implications for teaching and learning with respect to the development of information literacy are a highlight of the document. This is well illustrated by the following extract:
The resource and information services provided by school library resource centres are essential to achievement of student learning outcomes. Through resource based programs students develop the skills necessary for gaining intellectual access to information, acquire knowledge and understandings and use resources for personal growth and fulfillment.... the knowledge, understandings and necessary skills for learning are introduced developmentally and incrementally. In developing these abilities, teachers and teacher librarians work cooperatively to combine a knowledge of the curriculum, a knowledge of individual students' needs and competencies and a knowledge of information sources, resources and technologies. (4)Learning For The Future bases its claim for legitimacy upon the accepted national trend towards competency/skill based education. The existence of a well accepted approach to the integration of information skills across the curriculum is another key legitimising factor in the acceptance of this document. The South Australian document Skills For Information Literacy provides one example of this approach. This document presents the six process questions, identified as steps or phases that are required to enable the development of information literacy:
What do I really want to find out? DEFINING Where can I find the information I need? LOCATING Which information do I really need to use? SELECTING How can I best use this information? ORGANISING How can I present this information? PRESENTING What did I learn from this? EVALUATING (5) An examination of the information process reveals that some parts are to do with handling and consulting resources while others are concerned with thinking, choosing, comparing and presenting information. In other words, there are manipulative and cognitive aspects inherent in the process. Put another way, information literacy entails:
(a) a search process in which a person attempts to determine where the desired information is likely to be located; and
(b) an evaluation process in which the suitability and sufficiency of gathered information for retrieval questions is determined. (6)
Kuhlthau notes that traditionally library and information services have focused on sources and technology and in doing so have developed sophisticated systems for collecting, organising and retrieving sources and have applied information technology to provide extensive access to vast sources of information. (7) User education has, therefore, concentrated on manipulative skills. This bibliograph ic paradigm has underplayed the cognitive aspects of the information process that highlight understanding and meaning. The challenge is not the acquiring of information but rather the rejection of the unnecessary and the manipulation of the essential. If TLs are isolated from the school's mainstream curriculum, it is likely that their input to the information process will remain largely at the manipulative level. The value of TLs' input into the process is greatly enhanced when they are also involved in the cognitive processes.
Involvement by the TL across the full scope of the information process will occur when class teachers and the TL plan and teach as a team, and the TL is not reduced to the role of the resource person confined to the manipulative (bibliographic) aspects of the information process. The partnerships that are formed when teachers work together are, according to Fullan, the key to the development of learning schools. He states:
The ability to collaborate on both a small and large scale is becoming one of the core requisites of post modern society. (8) Sarason goes further by arguing that schools cannot expect to foster students as continuous learners and effective collaborators, without teachers portraying these same characteristics. (9) Teachers must succeed if students are to succeed. The implication for TLs is that they must be as active in the provision of user education to teacher colleagues as they are in addressing the information nee ds of students. Learning For The Future is a powerful support document and marketing tool for Australian TLs in the 1990s. David Frances states, in the Foreword, that this document:
....reflects recent changes in Australian education, including the shift to collaborative school planning, decision making and management....and provides a benchmark that can be used to assess existing services and plan for the future.... [and] offers guidelines and frameworks to enable school communities to plan a library resource service that will challenge students today and prepare them for the information technology of tomorrow's world. (10)Many TLs are prepared to take on the challenge, as they evaluate the impact of the school library program on the school's curriculum teaching and learning. TLs are assessing where and how they fit into curriculum planning and implementation, they are reassessing the effectiveness of their role as information specialists and information educators. TLs are now addressing what initiatives they s hould be introducing into their schools to improve the effectiveness of the school library program and its impact on students' learning.
The future is now, TLs cannot wait any longer, or leave the implementation of an integrated, meaningful user education service to their successors. The guidelines presented in Learning For The Future provide the TL with a focus, a frame of reference, when assessing the effectiveness of the school library program and planning for future library services. Learning For The Future presents an educ ational context for TLs it brings together educational aims and goals, processes and strategies, skills and outcomes, and highlights the importance of the ability to use and process information as a basic survival skill in the 1990s. Throughout this document the responsibility for such educational change is always identified as the responsibility of the whole school community, that is, teachers , students, parents and community members. The implementation of such change insists a whole school initiative and process, because effective change will only occur when people involved and affected are included in the process. (11-12) To be successful in involving others, educating others, leading or directing others towards the goal of information literacy, it is essential that TLs, as the i nformation specialists in their schools, ensure that their knowledge, skills and attitudes are keeping a pace with the information challenge. TLs must be active role models of effective information users for their teaching colleagues.
Learning For The Future presents an integrated planning structure to combine school library and school development planning (Appendix 2). When planning to develop an integrated approach to the school library program, and improve the quality of learning in the school, TLs need to identify where and how the information process fits into the development of whole school skill based programs (Appen dix 3), and when developing a whole school library program, TLs must take into account and support, teachers and their teaching. In order to establish an effective user education program, the TL must initiate and develop within the school a preferred sequence of learning for all students developmentally and sequentially a continuum (or agenda) of information skills. It is essential that th is continuum of information skills be developed and agreed to by all staff to ensure that: (a) some skills are not omitted; (b) a developmental approach is being taken to skills coverage (sequential development in complexity); and (c) skills instruction is being integrated with, and embedded in, the curriculum.
This will provide a solid foundation and framework for cooperative planning of cur riculum programs, units of work and individual lessons that provide structured resource based learning opportunities for students. Teacher involvement in this process is crucial. If teachers work as partners in developing a continuum that is relevant to the teaching and learning in their school, they will assume some responsibility for skill development. When the teacher and TL work through c urriculum documentation together, specific to that teacher's subject area, they will be able to identify those skills (described as objectives and outcomes) that specifically fit into an information skills continuum (Appendix 4). The teacher or faculty may also request that other subject specific skills be included in the continuum. Overlapping of skill development across KLAs should be ident ified teachers in different subject areas should work together to develop programs to ensure that these skills are introduced and reinforced, and that students are made aware of the "transferability" of skills. Kuhlthau states that 'transference is the ultimate objective of education'.(13) The Key Competencies focus on outcomes, that is, what people can do, and advocates the importance of ' the ability to perform in a given context and the capacity to transfer knowledge and skills to new tasks and situations'. (14) this emphasis on application and transference has massive implications for teaching and learning in schools. It is the responsibility of the whole school to ensure that opportunities are created for 'transference' of skills. The cross fertilisation of ideas, strategies and assessment of information skills between KLAs would characterise an effective, integrated information skill development program in a school.
Whereas public librarians, in many cases, provide assistance in essentially locating information products to meet their client's specific information need, the TL's role is to meet their clients' information needs through the learning process. While it is important for students to be assisted with the location and selection of resources, the TLs participation in student learning goes deeper th e TL and teacher must provide students with strategies to deal with new information, to interpret information. In Kuhlthau's study of high school students involved in research tasks, it was evident that library users perceived the task of the search process as primarily to gather information even in the early stages of vague, unfocused thinking:
Users do not clearly understand the task of forming a focused perspective from the information encountered in the early stages of the search process. Users need guidance and counseling in the task most appropriate for moving on to the next stage. A role for information professionals in the search process is indicated beyond that of locating sources. A new kind of intervention that meet the process needs of information users is indicated. (15)The information process has been presented in a variety of formats, some include six essential steps, others ten, however, the process is universal. It is a framework, a guide, a road map that provides information seekers with direction, a generic model for potential information users. However, it is not the educational role of the TL to advocate this process as the solution to all students' ne eds involved in research or information problems or tasks. The ideal/fundamental role of the TL and teacher in their cooperative planning and teaching (CPT) partnership is to work as information facilitators to effectively identify and facilitate individual student's information requirements (whether information is used as a product or process) at their point of need. It is, therefore, essenti al that teachers become effective information users, defining topics and tasks, and manipulating and interpreting information to satisfy their own information needs, before they can effectively assist their students. They must be familiar with the information process, and be able to identify and integrate information skills within their curriculum. They must have access to a variety of teaching strategies to assist their students with the use of information, for they too are required to "diagnose" and meet students' information needs within the context of their classrooms on a daily basis where the TL is not always available. It is, therefore, the role of the TL, as information skills specialist, to equip their teaching colleagues with a repertoire of information skills and strategie s to provide their students with the guidance and counselling needed to move on to the next stage.
Defining is the foundation on which the information process is built, and the TL and teacher must provide students with the time, skills and strategies required to fully develop and complete this initial step or phase. It is in this phase that students brainstorm and read widely to select, define and refine a topic and develop a research framework and a plan, outlining the most appropriate cours e of action to provide their information search with direction. This may include the development of a task timeline or timetable, where students make decisions about the management of their information search and impose deadlines for each phase of their research. Defining is a complex phase in a student's information search process. Kuhlthau refers to the importance of the counselling role of th e information specialist and states that:
Encouragement and support are an integral part of the intervention along with a sequence of recommended sources and strategies for formulating, extending and defining. Strategies include various forms of writing, charting, discussing, and, where appropriate, use of peer support and team efforts along with more traditional search techniques.... It is in the early uncertain stages of the searc h process that the counselor's services are particularly essential. The counselor guides users in acknowledging, expecting, and tolerating feelings of uncertainty and anxiety .... enables the user to understand tasks of exploring and formulating as integral to the early stages of information seeking. (16)
In completing research projects, students are continually defining and refining their topic at each step of the information process. They are required to make decisions regarding the relevancy and redundancy of their information, they are constantly interpreting their information and seeking meaning. The TL and teacher must develop teaching programs that focus on the 'dynamic process of using i nformation' because:
Process strategies for exploring and formulating enable students to learn how to learn. Educational programs that offer users' an understanding of their search task are better aligned with the natural progression of their thoughts and feelings. Education programs that teach students to become aware of their own process of learning from information access and use prepare them for the process o f using information in other situations of an information need. (17)
Librarians are redefining their role in this technological, information age. Library services, in particular, user education, is now being assessed to respond to the changing information needs of library users. Librarians need to identify and develop the new role that the 21st century demands of information professionals. While people require services that teach them how to locate and select information, they also need to develop strategies to use and interpret information as a basic skill to ensure their survival in the information age. Australian TLs now realise their potential in effectively contributing to information skilling our future workforce and are preparing for this challenge.
1. Australian Educational Council (AEC) and Ministers for Vocational Education, Employment and Training (MOVEET) (1992) Putting General Education To Work: The Key Competencies Report Canberra: AEC and MOVEET, pp.10 11.
2. Australian School Library Association (ASLA) and Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) (1993) Learning For The Future: Developing Information Services In Australian Schools Carlton, Vic.: Curriculum Corporation.
3. Australian School Library Association (ASLA) and Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) (1993) Learning For The Future: Developing Information Services In Australian Schools Carlton, Vic.: Curriculum Corporation, p.1.
4. Australian School Library Association (ASLA) and Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) (1993) Learning For The Future: Developing Information Services In Australian Schools Carlton, Vic.: Curriculum Corporation, p.10.
5. Skills For Information Literacy (1991) Adelaide: Education Department of South Australia.
6. KOBASIGAWA, A. (1983) Children's Retrieval Skills For School Learning, Alberta Journal Of Educational Research, 24(4) December: 259 271.
7. KUHLTHAU, CAROL COLLIER (1993) Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach To Library And Information Services Norwood, N.J.: Ablex.
8. FULLAN, M. (1993) Change Forces London: Falmer Press, p.17.
9. SARASON, S. (1990) The Predictable Failure Of Educational Reform San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
10. Australian School Library Association (ASLA) and Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) (1993) Learning For The Future: Developing Information Services In Australian Schools Carlton, Vic.: Curriculum Corporation, p.iii.
11. DRISCOLL, DIANNE (ed.) (1989) Implementing Change: A Cooperative Approach To Initiating, Implementing And Sustaining Library Resource Centre Programs, Vancouver, BC: British Columbia Teacher Librarians' Association.
12. HENRI, JAMES (1988) The School Curriculum: A Collaborative Approach To Learning 2nd ed. Wagga Wagga, N.S.W.: Centre for Library Studies.
13. KUHLTHAU, CAROL COLLIER (1993) Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach To Library And Information Services Norwood, N.J.: Ablex, p.17.
14. Australian Educational Council (AEC) and Ministers for Vocational Education, Employment and Training (MOVEET) (1992) Putting General Education To Work: The Key Competencies Report Canberra: AEC and MOVEET, p.4.
15. KUHLTHAU, CAROL COLLIER (1993) Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach To Library And Information Services Norwood, N.J.: Ablex, p.63.
16. KUHLTHAU, CAROL COLLIER (1993) Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach To Library And Information Services Norwood, N.J.: Ablex, p.179.
17. KUHLTHAU, CAROL COLLIER (1993) Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach To Library And Information Services Norwood, N.J.: Ablex, p.167.
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