Why have not the understandings and skills that inform information literacy become embedded into the classroom practices of teachers and educational systems? Is it because information literacy is understood as something that is teacher librarian-oriented and not part of the general curriculum?
I feel this is really a key question for me. As a teacher I took it upon myself to teach what I now know as info literacy skills because they needed them to inquire. However, if there was a TL at our school who actually had the time to do this, I would have happily palmed over these lessons to her. As it was, she was far too busy with the secondary students and didn’t seem particularly interested in teaching my little tackers the skills they needed. While that seems harsh, it was the reality – she had the whole school of 600 students to serve and the primary kids just didn’t get a look in when the Diploma kids held sway over the entire school.
I think that teachers somehow believe info literacy skills just appear in our students by osmosis – based on my practice, I admit that I must have! It wasn’t until I was teaching the PYP that I realised how much structure and scaffolding my students needed information literacy to be independent inquirers. I didn’t think of it as IL though, just ‘good research skills’ – critical literacy combined with a knowledge of different modes of information (books, net, human, etc).
What’s our role as TLs, working as teaching collaborators in our school? I believe we are to be used as a starting point, a reference point, a source of PD for our teachers as they embark on the journey as teachers of IL. Much like ALL teachers are teachers of language, I believe ALL teachers are teachers of information literacy. As information is an integral part of all learning, all teachers must take part in equiping our students with these skills. However, teachers can’t just pull these skills out of thin air if they themselves have never explicitly been taught them. That’s where we as TLs come in. We know it, we share it.