Integrating information literacy into the curriculum a journey #1


So, as alluded to in a previous post, we are in the position in our school where we no longer teach information literacy through the library, at all, period.. Well at least not in the sense that the majority of schools do.
In most schools, if information literacy is taught at all, it tends to be through the school librarian running a couple of sessions in the year 7 induction, maybe some for Yr10 students and if they’re lucky some at KS5.
My argument for this though is that info lit skills are basic skills. They are not the bedrock of info searching but also for learning. You need to learn something you assess what your gaps are you think about where you might find the knowledge you gain it and then use it. Pretty much the same process as an information search. Yes along the lines there are bits and pieces that differ, nuances etc but the general principles are there.
So, if a librarian is ‘teaching’ these skills they are only ever, in the scheme of things, drops in the ocean of a students learning. And if we know anything about learning information has to consistent and persistent if it is to be taken in. Therefore in reality information literacy taught in most schools is worthless.
These were and are my beliefs and being someone that likes to keep busy innovating, creating and improving I don’t like spending time on things that are worthless.
So, after spending years trying (and failing) to get the school to understand the purpose, nature and benefit of info lit I decided that what I needed to do was change my understanding of teaching.
If I could show a way of convincing staff and senior leaders that info lit could enhance teaching then I had more of a chance to integrate info lit into our school.
After a lot of pitching ideas I managed to get a slot on an SLT meeting where I proposed a simple model for accessing information (I called it independent learning – before the phrase became a buzz word!) and showed how you could use a consistent way of setting work where students would be able to produce a higher quality output and teachers would gains kills to improve their teaching.
SLT liked it and agreed to give it a trial to see how it fared. Luckily at the same time our Assistant Head in charge of teaching and learning was looking at our homework policy to see if we could do something different which would improve the quality of it and stop the 80% of detentions which were made up from students not doing it.
This, I knew, was the opportunity to make info lit / independent learning fully integrated into the school. If we could somehow tie the two together then not only would I not need to teach worthless info lit lessons but we could have info lit skills being used in every classroom across the school.


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