Assummptions, Information Literacy and Transfer in High Schools

By Herring, James | Teacher Librarian, February 2011 | Go to article overview

Assummptions, Information Literacy and Transfer in High Schools


Herring, James, Teacher Librarian


There are many assumptions made by teacher-librarians, teachers, and school management about information literacy and transfer in high schools.

For instance, school staff may assume information literacy is developed across the school. However, the research findings from a study by this author in three Australian high schools challenge the assumptions.

This article examines the assumptions, outlines the research study's aims and methodology; identifies key findings from the study, discusses the findings in relation to the assumption, and provides recommendations for teacher-librarians and teachers.

The term information literacy practices, is used in this article and so requires defining. Lloyd (2007, 2010) argues that information literacy can be viewed as a practice, rather than a set of skills. The term practice in the school context implies that students engage in a range of information-related learning activities, with a focus on gaining new knowledge, and that students are reflective practitioners.

ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT INFORMATION LITERACY IN SCHOOLS

The following assumptions are not held by all teacher-librarians and teachers in all schools, but empirical research and anecdotal evidence from a number of schools identified these assumptions as relatively common.

1. Information literacy is developed across the school

The basis of this assumption is that all students are taught a range of skills, which the teacher-librarian refers to as information literacy skills, while others refer to research skills or study skills. Most teachers will know/assume that students in the first year of high school are taught a range of skills in finding and using information by the teacher-librarian, and they will also know[assume that students are taught how to search for information on Google in separate ICT classes or as part of particular subjects. Teacher-librarians assume (or like to believe) what is being taught in the library is reinforced across the school. That is, information literacy is being developed across the school, for example by history teachers when students complete research-based assignments.

Many teachers may also assume that skills and abilities are reinforced by other teachers or departments. Asked for evidence about this assumption, school staff often point to the fact that most students progress through to the upper levels of the school, and that students could not do this without developing and implementing competencies in information literacy practices such as identifying purpose, evaluating search tools and content of web sites, analyzing and synthesizing information and ideas, and structuring written assignments. On the other hand, many school staff at the same time bemoan students' lack of these same skills or competencies.

2. There is a common understanding in the school of information literacy

In many schools there is another assumption that, because teacher-librarians and teachers believe there is a common set of skills and, in some cases reflective abilities, there is a common understanding across the school of what information literacy might mean, and how it is developed. In informal discussions in schools, this author has posed the question: Who teaches students aspects of information literacy? The answers are often vague, with the teacher-librarian and the English department often named as the primary source. What often becomes clear is that, while teachers may know what they teach students, for example about assignment planning, they do not know what other teachers, particularly in other departments, teach students. The assumption is that, because information literacy is seen as important, particularly in relation to the use of digital learning resources, there must be a common understanding.

3. All students understand the concepts that lie behind information literacy teaching

In all three schools in the research study and from anecdotal evidence from schools in Australia and the United Kingdom, there appears to be a common assumption that, while many students may not put into practice what they are taught by teacher-librarians and teachers about aspects of information literacy practices (e.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Assummptions, Information Literacy and Transfer in High Schools
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.