Critical Reflection ETL401

In this course, what I have learnt in the library and information sphere is now placed in the context of the school library, which is where I hope to further my career. In doing so it has clarified and added detail to concepts such as the role of the teacher librarian (TL) and information literacy (IL), while making me aware of what I don’t know much about – particularly in the area of curriculum and learning theories. As such, I am in a slightly stronger position meta-cognitively in ‘knowing what I don’t know’ (Morris, 2010). The comments of my fellow students and the course co-ordinator in the online fora, who come from a teaching background have been invaluable in this respect.


The role of the teacher librarian is complex, multi-faceted and dependent on the school context – which I explored in my first blog post (Bailey, 2014). As I work in a large K-12 international school means that some of the roles are assumed by or shared with the literacy and digital literacy coaches, leading to the need for constant collaboration and partnership not only with classroom teachers, school leadership and administrators but also these coaches.


Evidence and accountability in our role is something I would like to explore further in my work, particularly as we start up new initiatives such as classroom libraries and continue existing work in creating library pathfinders and co-teaching in some humanities models. In this way we can ensure that we are strategic in our time and resource planning to optimise our efficacy.


One of the main themes of this course has been information literacy, where we were introduced to the main thought leaders in this area, including Kuhlthau (2010; 2012a, 2012b, 2012c), Herring (2011; Herring, Tarter, & Naylor, 2002), and Eisenberg (2008; Wolf, Brush, & Saye, 2003). While many of the models of information literacy focus on the scaffolding of skills, information literacy can be seen as having four dimensions: cognitive (skill based); meta-cognitive (reflective); affective (positive and negative emotions); and the socio-cultural, including digital citizenship and ethical use of information (Kong & Li, 2009; Kuhlthau, 2013; Waters, 2012). This, and the question of transferability is something I explored in my blog discussing why information literacy is more than a set of skills (Bailey, 2015b). Literacy convergence and the 21st Century learner are valid realities that rethink the ambit of literacy in an information society that doesn’t only rely on text, and has expectations for learners that go beyond the personal consumption of information to contributing to using knowledge for personal or social transformation (Bailey, 2015a). However they can also be used as buzz words that can obfuscate the essence of information literacy irrespective of the medium used for access and dissemination of information (Crockett, 2013).


Learning naturally goes on outside the (virtual) classroom, and I have learnt a considerable amount through attending TL conferences, work shares, knowledge exchange workshops and conversations with my peers and more experienced TLs. One such conversation led to me investigating the fascinating concept of Threshold Concepts, particularly as it relates to information literacy (Hofer, Townsend, & Brunetti, 2012; Tucker, Weedman, Bruce, & Edwards, 2014). Although most research is currently in tertiary education (Flanagan,2015) I would like to explore which concepts would be relevant for our students and at what level we could introduce them and the most effective activities to do so. I’d also like to investigate assessment tools to aid us in pinpointing the problematic concepts in new students who have not come through the Guided Inquiry process of the school.


Our collaboration is not just with students, teachers and administrators but also parents who are often the ones picking up the slack and tasked with helping frustrated children with assignments or homework (Hoover‐Dempsey et al., 2005; Kong & Li, 2009). I have started doing some outreach to parents through co-ordinating our parent volunteer program, and marketing our online resources but realise I can do far more in educating parents in IL concepts and how best to continue scaffolding these concepts at home and making them aware of how our resources can aid them in this process.


One of the most valuable parts of this course was gaining an understanding of my own learning including cognitive and affective processes in the past two years and reflecting on my attempts to go through this process effectively unscaffolded, relying on instinct and common sense! Perhaps my learning would have been more efficient and effective if I’d known this all at the start, but certainly now I will be better at passing on the knowledge and experience to my students and children.



Bailey, N. (2014, December 7). ETL401 Blog Task 1: The role of the TL in schools [Web Log]. Retrieved January 24, 2015, from

Bailey, N. (2015a, January 4). The role of the TL in practise with regard to the convergence of literacies in the 21st Century [Web Log]. Retrieved January 24, 2015, from

Bailey, N. (2015b, January 18). Blog task 3: Information Literacy is more than a set of skills [Web Log]. Retrieved January 24, 2015, from

Crockett, L. (2013, February 28). Literacy is NOT Enough: 21st Century Fluencies for the Digital Age [Streaming Video]. Retrieved January 4, 2015, from

Eisenberg, M. B. (2008). Information Literacy: Essential Skills for the Information Age. DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology, 28(2), 39–47.

Flanagan, M. (2015, January 21). Threshold Concepts: Undergraduate Teaching, Postgraduate Training and Professional Development. A short introduction and bibliography [Website]. Retrieved January 25, 2015, from

Herring, J. E. (2011). Assumptions, Information Literacy and Transfer in High Schools. Teacher Librarian, 38(3), 32–36.

Herring, J. E., Tarter, A.-M., & Naylor, S. (2002). An evaluation of the use of the PLUS model to develop pupils’ information skills in a secondary school. School Libraries Worldwide, 8(1), 1.

Hofer, A. R., Townsend, L., & Brunetti, K. (2012). Troublesome Concepts and Information Literacy: Investigating Threshold Concepts for IL Instruction. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 12(4), 387–405. doi:10.1353/pla.2012.0039

Hoover‐Dempsey, K. V., Walker, J. M. T., Sandler, H. M., Whetsel, D., Green, C. L., Wilkins, A. S., & Closson, K. (2005). Why Do Parents Become Involved? Research Findings and Implications. The Elementary School Journal, 106(2), 105–130. doi:10.1086/499194

Kong, S. C., & Li, K. M. (2009). Collaboration between school and parents to foster information literacy: Learning in the information society. Computers & Education, 52(2), 275–282. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2008.08.004

Kuhlthau, C. C. (2013, October). Information Search Process [Website]. Retrieved from

Kuhlthau, C. C., & Maniotes, L. K. (2010). Building Guided Inquiry Teams for 21st-Century Learners. School Library Monthly, 26(5), 18.

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2012a). Assessment in guided inquiry. In Guided inquiry design: a framework for inquiry in your school (pp. 111–131). Santa Barbara, California: Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2012b). Guided inquiry design: a framework for inquiry in your school. Santa Barbara, California: Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2012c). The research behind the design. In Guided inquiry design: a framework for inquiry in your school (pp. 17–36). Santa Barbara, California: Libraries Unlimited.

Morris, E. (2010, June 20). The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is (Part 1). Retrieved February 4, 2014, from

Tucker, V. M., Weedman, J., Bruce, C. S., & Edwards, S. L. (2014). Learning Portals: Analyzing Threshold Concept Theory for LIS Education. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 55(2), 150–165.

Waters, J. K. (2012, September 4). Turning Students into Good Digital Citizens. Retrieved January 2, 2015, from

Wolf, S., Brush, T., & Saye, J. (2003). The Big Six Information Skills As a Metacognitive Scaffold: A Case Study. School Library Media Research, 6, 1–24. Retrieved from


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