Opportunities for building information skills into the curriculum

At every level of the school, curriculum decision-making should take into account student information needs and skill development.

The principal and the executive ensure the integration of information skills into the curriculum and related collaboration with the teacher librarian by:

  • coordinating
    • information distribution to staff, parents and the community
    • discussion of teaching issues relating to students’ development of information skills
    • schoolwide staff development activities
    • policy development
    • involvement of parents and the community where appropriate
  • promoting the teaching and learning of information skills as appropriate to student needs
  • providing directions for the purchase of appropriate, diverse sources of information to support specific curriculum plans
  • ensuring that the school’s information sources are balanced and that they reflect Departmental policies
  • ensuring equality of access to information technology for staff and students (e.g. staff development opportunities on new electronic resources and new information technology)
  • supervising systems in the school which ensure that information (school policies, teaching resources, library resources, equipment, etc.) can be easily accessed and located by all
  • creating an atmosphere which encourages student-centred activities
  • planning and supervising evaluation of the school’s information systems and the integration of information skills into the curriculum.

Grade and faculty groups, working with specialist teachers, ensure the integration of information skills into the curriculum by:

  • initiating staff development activities for the group in line with whole school directions
  • discussing how the information process relates to grade/faculty content concerns
  • incorporating information skills objectives and related syllabus outcomes into grade/faculty programs
  • identifying appropriate teaching and learning resources which
    • exist within the school
    • can be developed at the school
    • are available from agencies outside the school
    • are recommended for purchase
  • identifying the specific information skills to be
    • reinforced
    • introduced, practised and applied in appropriate units of work
  • suggesting learning strategies which focus on specific information skills
  • evaluating the impact of learning strategies which focus on information skills as well as the learning strategies which focus on content
  • evaluating the impact of grade/faculty programs in terms of information skills objectives as well as content objectives
  • identifying criteria for assessing student progress in terms of information skill development for related grade/faculty programs
  • collaborating on any of these with the teacher librarian.

Grade and faculty subgroups or individual teachers, working with specialist teachers, ensure information skills are incorporated into the curriculum by:

  • identifying aspects of a given unit of work where students will use the information process
    • deciding on one or more aspects where the information process will receive teaching and learning emphasis
    • deciding on the information skills to be reinforced/introduced, practised and applied
  • identifying specific resources, taking into account
    • the outcomes and content requirements of the task
    • the need to match resources to students’ ability levels and learning needs
    • the need to provide a range of information forms for students to work with
  • charting the information steps which students will take in using resources, that is, charting the information process, and anticipating
    • potential difficulties
    • opportunities for fostering student decision-making and independence
    • the need to reinforce/introduce, practise and apply targeted information skills
  • adjusting the overall direction of the unit according to resources selected and information steps charted
  • finding ways to teach the skills in context by scheduling the teaching of information skills to coincide with the appropriate step of the information task
  • devising teaching and learning strategies for
    • reinforcing/introducing the targeted information skills
    • providing opportunities for practice and feedback
    • relating skills practice to the information process in progress in the unit
  • negotiating with specialist teacher(s) to take part in information skills units, e.g. specific preparation, teaching and assessment roles
  • planning and carrying out of teaching units and programs
  • collaborating on any of these with the teacher librarian.

Individual specialist teachers, such as the support teacher (learning difficulties) and the English as an additional language (EAL/D) teacher, have an important role to play. They contribute to the information skills development of particular groups of students and should therefore be involved in planning, implementing and evaluating information skills programs related to units of work.

The Library Policy – Schools emphasises the collaborative role of the teacher librarian in the teaching and support of information skills programs supporting the teaching and learning program of the school. Students are more likely to become information literate if learning is undertaken within the context of class units of works. Isolated information skills instruction is less effective.

Depending on the allocation of time, staff and financial resources to the library, the teacher-librarian can:

  • lead and participate in the planning of information initiatives, programs and units at all levels, contributing their knowledge of information sources, library finding aids and procedures, and teaching ideas
  • take part in the teaching of segments of units which involve information skills reinforcement or introduction,
    • with the classroom teacher (in the library or the classroom)
    • in separate lessons planned with the classroom teacher
    • with small groups or individual students, as planned with the classroom teacher
  • take an active role in the assessment of student performance in information activities within cooperatively planned/taught units
  • participate in the evaluation of information skills units which were cooperatively planned/taught
  • take part in the evaluation of information skills programs supporting learning priorities and units of work at all levels in the school
  • provide specialist advice at each school level on the selection and use of suitable resources
  • arrange for the acquisition of new resources which are required for units focusing on information skills and which are suitable for the library collection (refer to the library’s collection development policy)
  • arrange for resources to be collected and made available to users according to the needs of planned information skills teaching and learning
  • take part in staff development activities focusing on information skills as participant/leader

When a separate library skills program is in operation, learning is isolated from other curriculum areas and the transfer of skills cannot be assured. It is also likely that a large number of information skills specific to particular curriculum areas and information tasks are not adequately addressed.

Where the teacher librarian plays an active role in the integration of information skills into the curriculum, library skills lessons or programs become obsolete, and the full range of information skills are taught in context instead.

The library collection and facilities:

  • provide teaching and learning support for information literacy skills development
  • supply a wide range of information forms and equipment for students to use and explore
  • provide finding aids e.g. signs, catalogue, electronic and other pathfinders which students need to locate information for themselves
  • provide learning spaces which may be more suitable than the classroom for some information and reading activities activities.

The degree to which these services can be provided will depend largely upon the human, physical and financial resources allocated to the library.

Adults within the community (parents, relations, friends, employers, and so on) play an important part in supporting students’ understanding and development of information skills. Community members can:

  • take part in whole school activities focusing on information skills which involve parents/community
  • be involved in school library fundraising and the selection of library resources, where appropriate
  • demonstrate and discuss how information is found and used e.g. show how information is found and used in the purchase of a new appliance or electronic device for the home or in the choice of a holiday destination
  • involve the student in information tasks and decision making which arise in the home, work experience program, sporting teams, etc.
  • encourage the critical discussion of information encountered outside the school in terms of credibility, bias and other characteristics
  • take an active interest in the information tasks undertaken by the student at school by promoting the information process steps.
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