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ABSTRACT This article reports on a project, involving three New Zealand schools, which investigated teachers understanding of information

literacy and their associated classroom practices. Recently published work, while lamenting schools students lack of information literacy skills, including working with online resources, provides little research investigating classroom teachers knowledge of information literacy skills and their related pedagogical practice. The findings of this project indicate that while some of the teachers in this project had a reasonably good understanding of the concept of information literacy, very few reported developing their students information literacy skills. Keywords: Information literacy Lifelong learning Improving classroom practice Pedagogical issues Teaching/learning strategies

1. Introduction The acknowledgement that students lack information skills is widespread. Many of these skills, such as question formation, brainstorming, categorising, skimming and scanning, use of search engines and databases, evaluation of online and printed material, use of contents pages and indexes, note taking methods, synthesis of information and methods of presentation are generic and can be used across many areas of school curricula at all levels. Others may be more subject specific, such as those used in mathematics or science. There is increasing recognition of the need to teach such skills explicitly, that minimal guided instruction is likely to be ineffective (Kirschner, Sweller, & Clark, 2006, p. 76) and that the acquisition of such skills cannot be assumed to happen as some teachers believe (Moore, 2002; Walraven, Brand-Gruwel, & Boshuizen, 2008) but must be taught rigorously (Bruce, 1997; Shenton, 2008, p. 286). Henri. (2004) and Cass (2004), both from Australia, have pointed out that all classroom teachers need professional development in this area. So far though there has been little investigation into how teachers approach the teaching of these skills. 1.1 Information Literacy The recent, rapid growth and enthusiastic uptake of the internet in education, with the corresponding avalanche of available information, has seen a much wider understanding of the importance of information literacy in the academic community. Until about ten years ago, journal articles reporting on the levels of information literacy skills in school students were largely written by tertiary librarians or academics in tertiary library and information faculties (Bruce, 1997; Bruce, Candy, & Klaus, 2000; Doyle, 1994; Moore, 1999; Todd, 2000). Information literacy development was not addressed in any other arena. A number of countries such USA, Canada, Australia have traditionally employed trained teacher librarians who as well managing school libraries are also responsible for leading the school-wide development of information literacy. They work with students and with teachers, often providing appropriate professional development. The development of information skills therefore has often, in these countries, been associated with the school library. Today, though, academics from a variety of disciplines, and others from global organisations such as UNESCO. (2006) have joined librarians in writing about the need to improve students information literacy development (Combes, 2006; Walraven et al., 2008). 1.2 Defining Information Literacy Despite this growing interest, defining informaton literacy can be problematic as there are different ways of understanding the concept (Bruce, 1997). The following definition of information literacy is widely accepted by many educational organisations (Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2002; Australian School Library Association, 2001; Education Review Office, 2005; Ministry of Education, 2002). To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed

information. Information literate people are those who have learned how to learn. (American Library Association, 1998). For the purposes of this project, the following explanation was used as a basis against which to measure participants descriptions of an information literate person. Information literacy is a broad concept that embraces information skills, ICT skills, and library skills along with the problem-solving and cognitive skills, and the attitudes and values, that enable learners to function effectively in the information landscape. (Ministry of Education & National Library of New Zealand, 2002, p. 11). The researcher was not expecting participants to provide a word-perfect definition of information literacy but rather to provide their own descriptions of the attributes of an information literate person. When analysing teachers descriptions, therefore, terms associated with several widely used information processing models, Action Learning (Gawith, 1988), Learning for the future (Australian School Library Association, 2001), Big6 (Eisenberg & Berkowitz, 1996) and skill descriptions from the Essential Skills, New Zealand Curriculum Framework (Ministry of Education, 1993) (Appendix A) were also taken into account. This has been done to include all terms and phrases which might have been used by the participating teachers. Such terms might also have included references to currently available and evolving technologies and the ethical use of information. Most information processing models, including those mentioned above, break the process down into manageable stages. To complete assignments successfully, students need to define their information needs, formulate key questions and know how to locate, evaluate and use information from many sources including a variety of online resources. They need to be aware also of issues relating to the ethical use of information, such as copyright and plagiarism. Students who have been taught how to use a model or framework encapsulating the above, will almost always be more successful than those not given such guidance (Kuhlthau, 2004; Todd, 2003a). Those who have not been taught the skills or provided with a framework for their research or inquiry often resort to copying or cutting and pasting material (Hipkins, 2005; Kuhlthau, Maniotes, & Caspari, 2007; Moore, 2002; Todd, 2003b; Walraven etal., 2008). 1.3 Information Literacy in New Zealand 1.3.1 Information Literacy and Livelong Learners
The recently revised New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2007) emphasises the importance of lifelong learning and the vision, (p. 8), lists the attributes of lifelong learners. Such learners are literate and numerate, critical and creative thinkers, active seekers, users and creators of knowledge and information decision makers. By implication, many of the skills underlying these attributes of lifelong learners are information literacy skills. Schools with a focus on lifelong learning should also have a strong focus on information literacy development (Bryce & Withers, 2003). This, as Doyle (1994) points out, is central to all successful learning and, by extension, to all successful living (p. 44). de la Harpe and Radloff (2000) in assessing the characteristics of lifelong learners, described a number of information literacy strategies and skills that students need to develop in order to become

effective learners. Bruce (2002) also refers to information literacy as the catalyst needed to transform the information society of today into the learning society of tomorrow (p. 4). In Singapore the government sees information skills as important to the Singapore economy, particularly with the growth of lifelong learning and knowledge-based industries (Hepworth, 2000). The New Zealand government, while not explicitly linking information literacy with lifelong learning, does appear to appreciate the need for information literacy development. The digital strategy (Ministry for Economic Development, 2005), for example, aims to provide all New Zealanders with . . .the confidence to find and use the information they need while the Ministry of Education. (2006) Enabling the 21st century learner: an e-learning action plan for schools 20062010 states that there will be support for a focus on teacher professional development in information literacy development. While this has yet to eventuate, the statement does acknowledge the need.

1.3.2

Development of Information Literacy

With the 1989 educational reforms (Ministry of Education, 1989), each school in New Zealand became self managing. There are no central bodies organising, for example, the supply of furniture, teaching materials or professional development. Teacher salaries are paid centrally though, as is school operational funding. In 1993, the New Zealand Curriculum Framework (Ministry of Education, 1993) specified seven essential learning areas and eight essential skills areas, to be developed by all students across the whole curriculum throughout the years of schooling (p. 17). For the first time, information skill development was specified in the New Zealand Curriculum but it was not mandatory for teachers to develop these skills with their students. From 1987 (when training started) until 1992, any information literacy skill development in schools had often been carried out by qualified teacher librarians. Central funding for such positions, however, stopped in 1992 and it was left up to each school to decide whether or not to employ and pay a qualified teacher librarian. As a result, schools have tended not to take on this extra spending and few schools now have staff trained to develop information literacy across the curriculum. The latest revision of the New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2007) includes eight key learning areas and five key competencies. Although, based on the OECD key competencies, the New Zealand Curriculum does not include a competency such as The ability to use information interactively (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 2005a). In the New Zealand Curriculum therefore, the need for students to develop information literacy skills in order to achieve many of the competencies is implied but not stated. 1.3.3 Teaching Information Literacy in New Zealand

There is evidence that teaching for information literacy, if the teachers have been appropriately trained, can be very effective. Lance (2005; 2006; 2007) and Todd, Kuhlthau, and Tepe (2004), working with schools and teacher librarians in USA, found that explicit teaching of skills in context, and using an information processing model, makes a positive difference to student learning outcomes. A small action research

project, carried out at a Wellington, NZ, high school, also demonstrated that careful and planned teaching for information literacy, carried out by a trained teacher librarian and a classroom teacher, does indeed make a difference (Hannah, 2005). Again students learned to use an information processing model. There is little research available, however, addressing information literacy teaching by regular classroom teachers who are not associated with teacher librarians. Moore (2002) working with primary teachers in five Wellington, NZ, primary schools found that the teachers were not familiar with the concept of information literacy and most seemed not to be explicitly teaching the skills. Proberts (2006) findings were similar when working with teachers from several Auckland, NZ, secondary schools. Alongside these findings, that some teachers are not explicitly teaching information literacy skills, is evidence that New Zealand students are not developing information literacy skills. Results from theNewZealand National Education Monitoring Project (NEMP) (Flockton, Crooks, &White, 2006) suggest that the principles and goals of information literacy are not widely understood, supported or practised by the teaching profession. This project began in 1993 to assess and report on the achievement of years 4 and 8 primary school students inNewZealand across all areas of the curriculum. Information skills were tested in 1997, 2001 and 2005 and the results show that there was little evidence of any change in the ability of year 4 and year 8 students, between 1997 and 2005, to find and gather information. Concerns listed in the 2006 report included the finding that few year 4 and year 8 students were able to describe a coherent process or strategy for finding and using information for a research or study topic and that more than 50% struggled to ask two or three strong questions for an inquiry, even when working collaboratively. Students also lacked skills of discernment and discrimination in their use of internet information. The Education Review Office (ERO) conducted a review, Student learning in the information Landscape (2005) to discover how effectively New Zealand schools were supporting students learning in the information landscape. ERO visited almost 400 schools in late 2004 and early 2005 looking at infrastructure, the content of information resources available to students and the skills, attitudes and values related to information literacy, life long reading and learning. The evidence from the evaluation demonstrated that information literacy is not well developed in most schools and particularly not in secondary schools with little evidence that schools were explicitly and systematically implementing an information process model across the curriculum. Very few schools were using a school-wide information processing model and it was found that many students could not articulate a common approach. Investigating research as a student learning activity in six Wellington, New Zealand secondary schools, Hipkins (2005) reported that students felt teachers had not taught them the skills they needed to carry out their own research projects and also noted that much of what was termed research actually consisted merely of information retrieval and repackaging (p. 21). There are few courses in New Zealand available for teachers wishing to undertake information literacy professional development and only one is offered at university level (University of Auckland, 2008). This course is recommended for all teachers teaching any subject at any year level. Teachers who have undertaken this course often

report that that they have been supplied with strategies for successfully teaching skills and for implementing an information literacy process into their schools across the curriculum and at all levels. Some also report that their teaching has been transformed. Many principals also enroll new teachers to their schools in the course. Unfortunately though, this evidence is anecdotal and so far there has been no academic evaluation of this or any other course offering information literacy professional development to classroom teachers in New Zealand 2. Method 2.1 Context 200 teachers from three neighboring schools, with the agreement of their principals, were invited to take part in this project and 148 (74%) participated. The principals of the three schools were concerned about the levels of information literacy knowledge and practice of staff after reading the results of the most recent National Education Monitoring Project (NEMP) (Flockton et al., 2006). They formed a cluster and hoped to gain information from the project which would demonstrate teachers understanding of information literacy and provide some indication of how or if, information literacy skills were being taught. The schools then plan to design and implement appropriate professional development designed to match teachers needs (Timperley, Wilson, Barrar, & Fung, 2007b). 2.2 Participants Teachers involved in the project taught at the following schools A. Coeducational intermediate school (Years 7 and 8 with students of 11 and 12 years of age), 25 teachers participated. B. Integrated (Catholic) years 713 girls school (comprising both intermediate and high school age students from 11 to 17 years of age). 51 teachers participated. C. State girls high school years 913 (students 1317 years of age). 72 teachers participated. There were 121 female and 27 male teachers who chose to take part in the project. The gender imbalance is not surprising given that the high schools are girls-only schools. At School A, 52% of participants were aged 30 or under, 32% aged 3039 years and the remained over 40 years. At School B, 50% were aged 3039 years and 20% aged 40 49 years. The remainder, 30%, were evenly spread between the ages of 2029 years of ages and over 50 years. At School C, 76% of the teachers were aged 50 and over, with few teachers in 20-29 age band. The majority of the teachers participating in the project overall, therefore, were aged 3049 while a quarter were over 50 years of age and the remainder under 30 years of age. School B had the greatest number of teachers who had been teaching for over 20 years (32%) followed by School C (28%) while 73% of teachers at School A had been teaching for nine years or less. The majority (86%) of

the participants had trained in New Zealand while the remainder were trained in UK, Australia, Canada, South Africa, India or Fiji. Those teaching at high school level represented all subject areas taught at the two secondary schools with the majority teaching subjects such as English (41.4%), mathematics (37%), science (22%) and social sciences (14.4%). Many taught more than one subject. School A teachers also taught subjects in which they specialised, such as English, science, mathematics and social sciences. 2.3 Design The project comprised a mixed method design with the collection of quantitative data using questionnaires followed by the collection of more qualitative data through interviews (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2007). The term information literacy was used in questionnaires and interviews as it is the term found in official documentation (Education Review Office, 2005; Ministry for Economic Development, 2005; Ministry of Education, 2004, 2006; Ministry of Education & National Library of New Zealand, 2002). The explanation given above was expanded, as described, in an effort to help teachers recognise a variety of terms they might use when teaching. It was considered important to take into account the applied knowledge of teachers which can often seem intuitive and not be easily translatable into explicit descriptions (Claxton, 2000, p. 35). Documentation including worksheet templates, policies and departmental planning were requested. 2.4 Procedure 2.4.1 Web Based Questionnaire The questionnaire, self-administered anonymously by staff using their laptops, was stored on a Faculty of Education IT server. It was felt preferable to use the university services as the data collected would be secure than it might be if using a commercially available service such as surveymonkey.com. The questionnaire was adapted from one used previously when investigating teachers understanding of information literacy in an Auckland, New Zealand high school. A number of questions were also adapted from the work of Moore (2002). Much trialing was involved, using teachers not returning to the schools in 2008, to ensure that relevant questions had been asked and also to check for ease of use in an online format. The questionnaire contained 32 questions in three parts. Part 1 gathered demographic information and included one open ended question asking participants to complete the statement An information literate person is someone who. . . Part 2 contained Lickert scale questions designed to explore participants attitudes and beliefs about information literacy development. Part 3 contained open ended questions about any information processing models used and nine questions, using a Lickert-frequency response scale, exploring participants practices when teaching information literacy skills. Qualitative data were gathered from interviews which provided balance for the more structured nature of quantitative survey data collection (Axinn & Pearce, 2006; Bryman, 2007). Participants included ten heads of departments (HODs in Schools B and C) and five team leaders at School A. As each head of department or team leader

was responsible for between four and ten other teachers from all subject areas, it was assumed that they would have information relating to departmental policies and practice. The interview questions, again trialled with staff not returning to the schools in 2008, were designed to explore responses to parts of the questionnaire involving perceptions of information literacy and teaching practices concerning information literacy development. Participants were asked, for example, whether they checked the information literacy skills levels of their students at the start of each year and to describe how they taught note taking or website evaluation. They were also asked about any departmental policies regarding information literacy development. Triangulation was achieved through the collection and analysis of data from different and separate sources of evidence. Teaching staff self-reported through the use of the questionnaires while interviews were held with HODs and team leaders. The documentation supplied examples of teachers classroom assignments and current information processing models in use. 3. Result and Discussion The response rate to the teacher questionnaire was high, with 148 responses from a total of 200 teachers at the three schools (74%). There were, presumably, teachers who chose not to become involved and others who, under pressures of work, forgot to complete the questionnaire. Anecdotal evidence demonstrated strong support for the use of online questionnaires. Teachers commented on the convenience factor as they all have laptops with wireless connections and so were able to complete the questionnaire whenever and wherever they found time. Other comments included I have lost some skills in writing for any time with a pen rather than with a keyboard and that I may have given much shorter answers if completing a conventional hard copy questionnaire. The findings presented here address those questions in the questionnaires which are most relevant to gauging teachers understandingof information literacy and their classroom practice. The interview questions explored these aspects in more depth. 4. fd 5. f 6. dfsd