Archived Information

Understanding Information Literacy - September 1999

Implications for Teaching

Because becoming information literate is an active process, requiring the seeking out of knowledge from multiple sources rather than passively receiving and repeating back facts, the teacher's role must evolve from the giver of knowledge into being more of a coach or guide (Wisconsin Educational Media Association 1993). Teachers, professors, teaching assistants, librarians, administrators, and the community must collaborate to develop ways to involve the students not only in using classroom materials but also in using resources from the broader community and the mass media.

Teachers must be prepared to "teach students to become critical thinkers, intellectually curious observers, creators, and users of information" (Lenox 1993). The goal is to prepare students early on to "learn how to learn" and carry these skills into other areas of their lives so that they can be independent seekers and consumers of information throughout their lives. Teachers of all subjects must blend their traditional fact-based approach with an emphasis on learner-based inquiry and the scientific inquiry process (Lenox 1993). This means shifting some of the responsibility of gaining knowledge from the teacher to the student and allowing students to develop questions, strategies to search for answers, and formulate conclusions. It also means having fewer lectures and replacing them with applied strategies for information literacy (Commission on Higher Education 1995).

Concurrently, educators and researchers must grapple with defining the standards and competencies associated with information literacy, develop effective new ways to engage learners and measure the outcome and impact of such learning. Efforts along these lines are being conducted by the Colorado Educational Media Association (1994), the American Association of School Librarians and the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (1996), the Bellingham Public Schools (1996), the Big Six Skills (Eisenberg and Berkowitz 1990), and Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Slaughter and Knupp 1994).


[ Why Should We Be Concerned About Information Literacy? ]
[ Table of Contents ]
[ Implications for Learning ]