Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

Incorporating Information Literacy into Teacher Education

Academic journal article Academic Exchange Quarterly

Incorporating Information Literacy into Teacher Education

Article excerpt


The current focus on information literacy in undergraduate education has direct implications for teacher education. The National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) 2000 standards specify that candidates preparing to work in schools must be able to integrate information literacy into P-12 cumcula appropriately and effectively to support student learning. This study examines how a faculty member and librarian collaborate to help teacher candidates integrate information literacy into their practice.


The current focus on information literacy represents an important shift in teacher education. The American Library Association (ALA) defines information literacy as the ability to recognize when information is needed and to identify, evaluate, and use information effectively (ALA 1989; 1998). New knowledge about teaching and learning supports the premise that even though basic skills are necessary, they are no longer sufficient for students today. Schools are now being asked to prepare students who can demonstrate understanding as well as knowledge and skill (Lieberman & Miller, 2000). Information literacy can be transferred across subject areas, improve research, writing, and critical thinking, and help students interpret and understand the world (Souchek & Meir, 1997). National education associations are recognizing the need to educate students for lifelong learning in a time of exponential growth of information. The Association of College and Research Libraries adopted information literacy standards for college libraries specifying that librarians collaborate frequently with classroom faculty to integrate information literacy into appropriate course work (Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, 2000).

Regrettably, when reporting on the progress of modifying teacher education to include information literacy in March 1998, the ALA Presidential Committee on Information Literacy indicated that no progress had been made (Progress Report on Information Literacy, March 1998). Their recommendations included developing plans for working with teacher education programs and the NCATE "to infuse information literacy requirements into undergraduate and graduate programs of teacher education." Newly revised NCATE standards specify that candidates preparing to work in schools must be "able to appropriately and effectively integrate technology and information literacy in instruction to support student learning. ... "(NCATE 2000 Standards). According to Rader (1995), a major factor necessary for successful integration into the curriculum is faculty and librarians working together in curriculum development.

The Study

This study presents a method of introducing teacher candidates to a model of information literacy that engages them in problem solving directly related to course objectives. The study describes how an education resource librarian and a faculty member collaborate to provide information literacy instruction that goes beyond traditional bibliographic instruction in a lecture format to employ active learning methods and constructivist principles in a required course for upper level teacher candidates in the elementary education program.

Theoretical Framework

Constructivism is a philosophy of learning founded on the premise that by reflecting on our experiences, we construct our own understanding of the world in which we live. In constructivist learning environments, students are encouraged to refine or revise their understanding. According to Brooks & Brooks (1999), five overarching principles are evident in constructivist classrooms.

(1) Teachers seek and value their students' point of view;

(2) Classroom activities challenge students' suppositions;

(3) Teachers pose problems of emerging relevance;

(4) Teachers build lessons around primary concepts and `big' ideas

(5) Teachers assess student learning in the context of daily teaching. …

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