Information Literacy

Report
The Teaching of Information Literacy
in Irish Secondary Schools
The Transition From Second To Third Level
June 2014
Katharine Ryan BA DipLIS MSc
Disclaimer
The information and opinions expressed
in this presentation are not necessarily
those of St. Andrew’s College or the
School Library Association of the Republic
of Ireland (SLARI)
• SLARI is the School Library Association of
the Republic of Ireland
• It’s a voluntary organisation and is part of
the SLA (UK)
• SLARI campaigns for better school library facilities
in all primary and second level schools in Ireland
• It offers support and information to all those
involved in primary and post-primary school
libraries
SLARI Policy Statement
SLARI believes there is an urgent need for
the establishment of a comprehensive
system of school libraries throughout the
country, in recognition of the following:
• the necessity for all students and
teachers to have access to a wide range of
information sources in an increasingly
resource-based system of education
SLARI Policy Statement Cont’d
• the need to equip students for full
participation in the rapidly changing
“knowledge society”
• the importance of developing students’
information literacy or information
handling skills
• the vital role of the school library in
encouraging young people to develop
good reading habits
Education and Information
Education will be more about how
to process and use information*
and less about imparting it. This is
a consequence of both the
proliferation of knowledge – and
how much of it any student can
truly absorb – and changes in
technology
Lawrence Summers – Former president of Harvard University
New York Times Education Life 20 January 2012
* Presenter’s emphasis
What is Information Literacy?
" ... the ability to know when there is a need
for information, to be able to identify, locate,
evaluate, and effectively use* that
information for the issue or problem at hand.“
Source: American Library Association
* Presenter’s emphasis
Information Literacy (IL) in Irish
Secondary Schools
The Dept. Education does not fund school
libraries or their resources with the
exception of JCSP/DEIS libraries
The Dept. Education does not employ
school librarians with the exception of
JCSP/DEIS school librarians
JCSP = Junior Certificate School Programme
DEIS = Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools
IL In Irish Secondary Schools
There is no Dept. Education/NCCA
Information Literacy syllabus
New JC Key Skill – aspects of IL covered
There are no standards or guidelines for
implementing information literacy
programmes/short courses in Irish secondary
schools
IL In Irish Secondary Schools
School libraries can, if they wish, follow
SLA/SLARI best practice guidelines
There is no requirement to link IL to every
subject in the curriculum
There is no requirement to be competent
in any aspect of IL when leaving
school and/or entering third level
Evaluating IL In Irish Secondary Schools
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DWHMHC5
IL Survey Results
Sent to over 700 second level schools on
Dept Education website
Only 29 replies received
15 from professionally qualified librarians
14 from teachers given responsibility for
the school library
Poor Response Rate Due to…
Addresses on Dept Education website ‘bounced’
Email addresses from schools’ websites ‘bounced’
Emails were not forwarded to librarian/person
responsible for library despite request to do so
Emails were not forwarded to librarian/person
responsible as the school doesn’t have a library
Wrong time of the year - exams and holiday time
The results of the survey cannot be read as
a clear picture, or indeed, as any kind of a
picture of what is happening regarding IL
teaching in Irish secondary schools
Are There School Libraries?
27 of the 29 respondent schools had a school
library NOT a classroom library
JCSP
DEIS
Private
Other
However, SLARI belief is that there are few school libraries
Respondents Definition of IL
28 responses
19 responses - being able to search for,
evaluate, store and manage information
4 responses – as above with concept of
ethical use of information
4 other responses-
Definition of IL
Other “definitions”
Children learning through reading
Vital for the future of our students both in education and society.
digital literacy the ability to read, and comprehend text the ability
to use strategies consciously to understand texts. I'm not sure what
you mean about information literacy...I only realised what you
meant when I read the latter questions- I think it would be helpful if
you were to define information literacy first. Currently this is not
being taught in schools I am not the librarian …..
While the concept of literacy is a complex and contested one, our
understanding of information literacy is that it promotes a
student's ability to use and produce new forms of IT related
communication using spoken language, print and multimedia.
Who gets taught IL?
25
20
15
10
5
0
1st yr
2nd yr
3rd yr TY/4th yr 5th yr
6th yr
What’s Taught?
Who’s taught about the RQ?
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
1st yr
2nd yr
3rd yr TY/4th yr 5th yr
6th yr
How to formulate a well-focused, debatable research question
19 respondents
Formulating A Good RQ
Move from the GENERAL (Broad) to the (SPECIFIC) focused
Source: IBO
Who’s Taught About Multiple Sources?
18
16
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
1st yr
2nd yr
3rd yr TY/4th yr 5th yr
6th yr
books, magazines, internet, newspapers, databases etc.
27 respondents
Who’s taught to search the catalogue?
18
16
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
1st yr
2nd yr
17 respondents
3rd yr TY/4th yr 5th yr
6th yr
Who’s taught Dewey?
16
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
1st yr
2nd yr
16 respondents
3rd yr
4th yr
5th yr
6th yr
Who’s taught to search a database?
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.5
0
1st yr
2nd yr
2 respondents
3rd yr TY/4th yr 5th yr
6th yr
Who’s taught adv. internet search
techniques?
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
1st yr
2nd yr
3rd yr TY/4th yr 5th yr
6th yr
8 respondents
Surprised 1st and 2nd years taught advanced internet search techniques
Who’s taught about Boolean logic?
3.5
3
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.5
0
1st yr
2nd yr
6 respondents
3rd yr TY/4th yr 5th yr
6th yr
Who’s taught to evaluate information?
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
1st yr
2nd yr
3rd yr TY/4th yr 5th yr
Print and internet sources of information
20 respondents
6th yr
Who’s taught to read for argument?
16
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
1st yr
2nd yr
3rd yr TY/4th yr 5th yr
6th yr
Taught how to pick out an author's argument from a text
17 respondents
Who’s taught how to draw
conclusions?
16
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
1st yr
2nd yr
3rd yr TY/4th yr 5th yr
How to draw conclusions from their research
20 respondents
6th yr
Who’s taught about plagiarism?
16
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
1st yr
2nd yr
22 respondents
3rd yr TY/4th yr 5th yr
6th yr
Who’s taught to prepare a
bibliography?
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
1st yr
2nd yr
3rd yr TY/4th yr 5th yr
6th yr
18 respondents
If taught other IL skills why aren’t 1st-3rd years taught this?
How should IL be taught ?
As a module
(6 responses)
Integrated with a lesson eg history
(23 responses)
Integrate JC Key Skill
‘Managing Information and Thinking’
Into The Curriculum?
Yes 3 respondents
No
Don’t Know
To Be Decided
School specifically discussed/planned for how the Junior Cycle key skill 'Managing
Information and Thinking' will be integrated into your school curriculum?
29 resp.
Junior Cycle Key Skill – Managing Information
and Thinking
Will commence Sept 2014 with its integration
Into the English curriculum
It is NOT an Information Literacy course. It
contains some IL skills
www.juniorcycle.ie/NCCA_JuniorCycle/media/NCCA/Documents/test/Managing-information-and-thinking-Toolkit_Feb-2013.pdf
Help LC Students With Research?
Yes
No
Help Leaving Certificate students research their pre-submitted essays
and/or fieldwork (history, geography, religion)
29 respondents
Do Irish Secondary Students Have The
IL Skills To Transition To Third Level?
Yes
No
Some Points To Consider
School librarians are not seen as teachers
Teachers are overwhelmed trying to get
through the curriculum
Irish curriculum does not encourage the use
of a library or the learning of IL skills
Some Points To Consider
Contrast this with the Int. Baccalaureate
IB EE 4,000 word academic essay
Students don’t appreciate the need to learn
how to research until they reach 5th/6th year
pre-submitted course work
However, it’s difficult to teach IL to 6th years
due to pressure of finishing syllabi/exams
Some Points To Consider
Opinion - IL skills, if offered, are on a ‘bell curve’
ie ‘poorest’ and ‘richest’ schools have school
libraries. There’s an uneven ‘playing field’
The teaching of IL skills varies from school to
school – there is no consistency in what is
taught (syllabus) or how it is taught (standard)
Students knowledge of IL is fragmented
Some Points To Consider
The fact that IL is taught at all in a school
depends on the school librarian being proactive
Difficult to get timetabled – you’re in
competition with the syllabus
Timetable changes annually
You may get to teach a few forms from a year
Some Points To Consider
Opportunity to teach IL depends on the subject
– LC essays & practical course work eg Home
Economics, History, Religion, Geography
Access to students depends on the teacher’s
interest/ability to bring a class to the library
Points To Consider
Teachers are expected to teach IL as part of
their coursework
They are not trained to teach IL skills
Are there courses being developed in the teaching of IL
that will be recognised by the Teaching Council for CPD?
When will Dept Education/NCCA develop an IL
curriculum and recognise school librarians as teachers?
What will it take?
SLARI, LAI, third level institutions recognise
the need for IL instruction
SLARI has found it difficult to meet with the
Department of Education
Easy for Department Education to ignore
recommendations made by library org.s
So, how do we move forward?
What Will It Take?
To get school libraries, professionally
qualified school librarians and IL programmes
into Irish secondary schools employers
particularly those involved in the ‘critical
thinking’ sectors should be encouraged to
lobby the government.
Who in industry and government will
be our champion?
What Can SLARI Do?
Change the mind set of educational leaders.
School management and school management
representative bodies could be approached
with SLARI developed JC module ‘How To Do
Research’ containing teaching material and
lesson plans.
What Can SLARI Do?
We do this already – let’s be proactive and
share our expertise
This will inform school management and
teachers that SLARI is ready and willing to
promote IL in Irish Secondary schools

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