DEC Scan Journal : August 2011
Scan Vol 30 No 3 August 2011 21 this did not depend on particular teaching methods. Most students could be engaged in their own learning and information literacy practices, where there was more evidence of student-centred teaching and assignments. The small minority were not engaged in their own learning. The data from the study showed that the majority of students had the potential to be reflectively engaged in their own learning but were not motivated to do so. The reasons for this lack of engagement included school culture, in which students saw themselves as groups being taught, as opposed to individuals who learned, and a lack of motivation due to assign- ments which did not challenge students. Transfer When students could see value in transfer, and if teacher librarians and teachers actively encouraged students to continue to value transfer, more students were likely to transfer infor- mation literacy practices. Most students in the three schools were unlikely to transfer information literacy practices across time and subjects, unless a culture of transfer was established in the schools. A culture of transfer in these schools could only be established if transfer was seen by school staff and by students as a high priority for the school curriculum, and there was both formal and informal discussion of transfer. This discussion needed to take place not only between school staff, but between staff and students. Discussion The findings of the study are discussed in relation to: • valuing information literacy • transferring information literacy practices • developing a culture of transfer. Valuing information literacy In this study, the term value relates to the importance of, and benefits to be derived from, information literacy practices. A minority of students saw value, for example, in evaluating infor- mation sources found on the web, but they did not do so merely from a utili- tarian point of view. A utilitarian view might involve the students in seeing information source evaluation as a means of identifying key sources, which would gain them better marks in an assignment. These students saw value in information source evaluation as an information literacy practice, and they were able to reflect on the benefits of this for their own learning, and also to consider how other students evaluated learning resources. The research data showed that those students who actively valued informa- tion literacy practices, expressed this value in terms of benefits to their own learning, but also in terms of motiva- tion. This group of students argued that when they developed information literacy practices, they not only acquired new skills (e.g. how to develop a concept map), but were motivated to use, and reflect on the use of, these skills. One of the apparently contradictory findings of the research was that, while most students argued that they saw value in information literacy practices, only a minority were willing or motivated to implement these practices, without prompting by a teacher librarian or teacher. Almost all students, for example, recommended that the students, who followed them into Year 7, should learn about and actively use information literacy practices such as question formulation or self-evaluation. Thus while most students believed that they saw value, they were unwilling, or were not motivated, to realise the benefits from this value. The majority of students appeared to take a received practice view of infor- mation literacy practices. This view reflects an attitude amongst students that a school functions by teachers and teacher librarians instructing students not only on what they are learning, but also on how they should learn. School culture therefore, is important in this respect, and it was clear that some students took a different view of school culture from that of their teachers and teacher librarians. An example of this was that some students stated that they did not need to construct a concept map in Term 4. When asked about the defini- tion of need, these students stated that it was not required by the teacher or teacher librarian, so they did not feel that they had to develop the map. It can be argued that these students only saw potential value in information literacy practices. As noted above, a very small minority of students saw no value in informa- tion literacy practices. For example, these students could see no connec- tion between question formulation and information retrieval. Their failure to understand that there might be value in, for example, effective reading for information and knowledge, meant that they failed to implement informa- tion literacy practices. While teachers and teacher librarians agreed that this very small minority of students existed, there did not appear to be strategies to deal with this lack of understanding. A review of the literature shows that, while authors such as Kuhlthau (2004) and Limberg (2008) addressed a range of issues in information literacy, the question of whether students did or did not value informa- tion literacy practices, is not discussed in any detail. Transferring information literacy practices In terms of students transferring infor- mation literacy practices that they had acquired, or had reinforced, in Term 3, in all three schools, three groups emerged. These groups were similar to those who valued, or did not value, School culture therefore, is important in this respect.