My Reflection

I love reading.

Libraries for are one of my favourite places in the world.

These two points were part of my reasoning to start thinking of studying Teacher Librarian (TL) ship and. I also simply thought I could be a helpful TL for students who came from non-English back ground as I probably have had common experiences as them (Usui, 2012a). It is obvious I did not understand then what roll TL really play in the school.

This is my reflection of how my view of TLs has changed during this subject.

What is my purpose?

I am undertaking this course to obtain another qualification to expanding my career as an educator beyond my current role as a Japanese teacher. The Master of Education TLship at Charles Sturt University provides me an ideal opportunity. However after commenced this course, I immediately found out my ignorance of the TLs’ role and what exactly happens in learning and teaching contexts in schools such as Guided Inquiry (GI) learning.

What do I already know (believe)?

When I started studying this course I thought I had a little knowledge about the role of the TL such as checking out books, managing the study area and teaching students library skills.

What did I learn from this? And what do I still need to find out?

The role of TLs

First assignment in this subject required to choose 2 Standards from “12 Standards of Professional Excellence for Teacher Librarians” ( ALIA/ASLA, 2004). I found many unfamiliar words through first reading. This situation can be referring to Initiation in Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process (ISP) (2012). As I moved on to the Selection process to choose 2 standards however I was really confused and frustrated therefore often thought to change my choices of standards. I started to find information to support my essay in Exploration stage however I then found out I could not move forward to next stage, Formulation. My information seeking skills are still need to develop and I was  confused by new information. Consequently my understanding of TLs’ role was superficial. I am still trying to understand what really TLs do however Herring (2007, p30 Figure2.1) has given me a new light to progress my understanding of the role of the teacher librarian. My one of understanding of the TL’s role at the present is that TLs need to work as Information Literacy (IL) coordinators that collaborate with teachers to prepare students to be lifelong learners in 21st century.

Information Literacy (IL), Guided Inquiry (GI) and the collaboration

I think that IL is much more than just a set of skills. It is also the process involving using those skills and the transfer of those skills and learning across time and curriculum areas (Usui, 2012d). Students need to develop their IL to become effective information users inside and outside school and IL will assist students living and working in the digital environment.

GI is an ideal way to prepare students with the capabilities and competencies of lifelong learners that will meet the requirements of the 21st century (Usui, 2012b). The collaboration with teachers is essential to implement GI into learning and teaching contexts in school.

The definition of collaboration in GI impresses me. I am familiar with a sort of collaboration called team teaching. The team teaching has been used in English and Mathematics classes in junior high school Japan, the team is conducted by a main teacher and a support teacher. A support teacher is generally new teacher and is expected to support lower students and to learn various teaching methods through observing classes. However, in the collaboration between TLs and teachers they work as experts from each special area and both have a common terminology as it is vital to teach IL (Herring, 2011). Furthermore, many studies such as Fitzgerald (2011) have shown how collaboration between TLs and teachers plays an important role in the creation of inquiry units. Therefore I am looking forward to collaborating with teachers when I become a TL.

Honestly, I cannot say I really understand all topics in this subject ETL 401 as I have never worked as TL or a part of stuff in libraries and I am currently not working as a regular teacher. Therefore learning this unit is a sort of impractical theory for me and I sometimes feel uncertain if I could complete this course or not (Usui, 2012c). However I am sure my understanding and knowledge has been progressing.


Australian Library and Information Association and Australian School Library Association (2004) Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians Retrieved 22, July, 2012 from http://www.alia.org.au/policies/TLstandards.pdf –

FitzGerald, L. (2011).The twin purposes of Guided Inquiry: guiding student inquiry and evidence based practice Scan 30(1), 26-41Retrieved 4, October, 2012 from http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/schoollibraries/assets/pdf/guidedenquiry.pdf

Herring, J.E. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.) Librariesin the twenty-first century : charting new directions in information (pp. 27-42). WaggaWagga, NSW : Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University. Retrieved August 2,2012 from http://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/herring-j.pdf

Herring, J. E. (2011). Improving students’web use and information literacy. A guide for teachers and teacher librarians. Facet Publishing, London, UK.

Kuhlthau. C. C. (2012) Information Search Process. In Carol Collier Kuhlthau Retrieved August 20, 2012 from http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~kuhlthau/information_search_process.htm

Usui,T.(2012a,July 14) What does a TL really do? [Blog post] Retrieved from https://pandamoco.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/what-does-a-tl-really-do/

Usui,T.(2012b,September 10) Guided Inquiry [Blog post] Retrieved from  https://pandamoco.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/guided-inquiry/

Usui,T.(2012c,September 21) No experience as a TL [Blog post] Retrieved from https://pandamoco.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/no-experience-as-a-tl/

Usui,T.(2012d,September 26) Blog Task #3 Information Literacy: More than a set of skills. [Blog post]

Retrieved from https://pandamoco.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/blog-task-3-information-literacy-more-than-a-set-of-skills/


Blog Task #3 Information Literacy: More than a set of skills.

This is my reflection on this question however; I am still trying (struggling) to understand what Information Literacy (IL) is.

 Information literacy (IL) is not new word and various definitions have been used in a number of literary sources to describe and discuss the concept since the 1970s (Vine, 2006). Green (2006) describes IL as a need to be expanded to meet to today’s schools’ requirements. But what is IL exactly? This is a big question and takes me into a mysterious world. A study conducted by Herring (2010a) shows many teachers define IL as a set of skills, the ability to seek and find information through a variety of resources and adapt  related information into a task which students then work on. I think that IL is much more than just a set of skills. It is also the process involving using those skills and the transfer of those skills and learning across time and curriculum areas.

Herring (2011a) defines IL as “a critical and reflective ability” and also “a practice” rather than a set of skills. If students can think critically about the practices they use, why and how they use these practices, for example, they will be then effective information users. Herring focuses on the ability to transfer information as an aspect of IL.

When thinking about IL and transfer, I believe teaching skills such as concept mapping could develop students’ transferring skills and abilities however, this is only an assumption (Herring, 2010). How can students’ transfer skills and abilities be developed? Firstly, implementing IL models into the school is desirable. Teacher Librarians (TL) need to choose one IL model from the many options available such as the Big 6 models (Eisenburg and Berkowiz,1990 ), the Information Search Process (ISP) model (Kuhlthau 2004) and the PLUS model (Herring 2011) or TLs and teachers in NSW may prefer the NSW DET model (2007) to others. However, it is vital for teachers to consider which model works for their individual schools, students and curriculum. Perhaps some schools need to establish an independent IL model by an expanding  existing models (Green,2006) and the IL model needs to be embedded in the curriculum. It may be a challenge to integrate this process into the school. However , it is a key role of TLs.

Secondly, encouraging the establishment of a culture of transfer for IL across subject areas along with a mutual understanding between faculties as to what is being taught is also a key aspect to develop the culture of transfer for IL (Herring, 2011b). If there is not a culture of transfer for IL, many students will not be encouraged to consider, let alone reflect on their own learning.

It is important to stress that information literacy is more than a procedural set of skills. It needs to accommodate this broader concept of literacy from traditional to digital literacy, if it is to prepare students to be lifelong  and reflective learners in the 21st century.


Eisenberg, M. B., & Berkowitz, R. (1990). Information problem solving: The Big Six approach to library & information skills instruction. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex.

Green, G. (2007). Information literacy: time for a rethink? Access. 21(3), 9-11.Retrieved 23rd September 2012 from http://content.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/pdf19_22/pdf/2007/D5H/01Sep07/27506020.pdf?T=P&P=AN&K=27506020&S=R&D=lih&EbscoContent=dGJyMNHr7ESeqLE40dvuOLCmr0qep69Sr6y4TbOWxWXS&ContentCustomer=dGJyMPGpsVCzp69MuePfgeyx44Dt6fIA

Herring, J.E.  (2010). Year seven students, information literacy skills and transfer: a grounded theory.  A thesis submitted to Charles Sturt University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Retrieved September 22, 2012 from Charles Sturt University: http://bilby.unilinc.edu.au:1801/view/action/singleViewer.do?dvs=1348356297001~886&locale=en_US&VIEWER_URL=/view/action/singleViewer.do?&DELIVERY_RULE_ID=10&application=DIGITOOL-3&frameId=1&usePid1=true&usePid2=true

Herring, J,E. (2011a) Improving students’ web use and information literacy: a guide for teachers and teacher librarians. London: Facet Publishing.

HERRING, J, E. (2011b) Assumptions, Information Literacy and Transfer in High Schools. Teacher Librarian, Feb2011, Vol. 38 Issue 3, Retrieved August 21,2012  from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/delivery?sid=7fef5..

 Kuhlthau, C. C. (2004). Seeking Meaning: A process Approach to Library and Information Services. 2nd ed. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

NSW Department of Education and Training. (2007). Information Skills in the School. Retrieved  August 10 , 2012, from http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/schoollibraries/teachingideas/infoskills

Vine, R. (2006). Information literacy: a framework for inquiry learning. How can I teach it if I don’t know what it is? Access, 3, 9-13. Retrieved September 22,2012 from http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/MTk1OTc4NDIuMTA0ODM0/elibrary//ACCESS/Vol20_No1_2006/L_AccV20N1_009.pdf


Guided Inquiry

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and Australian School Library Association (ASLA) (2009) in their statement on Guided Inquiry (GI) and the curriculum describe how the adaption of GI “helps students to construct meaning, think creatively and solve problems”.

Implementing a GI approach is a key role of the 21st century Teacher Librarian (TL). With this approach and the adaptation of new technologies into the school curriculum, TLs can work as a catalyst to the implementation of this relativity new learning styles.

GI is based on Kuhlthau’s (2004) extensive research into the Information Search Process (ISP) and is a form of the constructivist approach to learning, which is has an emphasis in modern pedagogy. According to Kuhlthau and Manitoes (2010, p. 19) a team consists of three members and should include both TLs and teachers, along with an expert in the learning topic area. The teams composition is core to the implementation of the ISP approach. The team guides students through curriculum based inquiry units with monitored and targeted involvement, with the aim of developing the students’ knowledge and understanding of the selected topics. This is an important component of the development of the students independent learning skills.

According to Kuhlthau (2010) GI is not an occasional or optional project, rather it is based on continual assessment and evaluation projects throughout a unit of work. GI is a way to develop the students’ capability of gaining essential skills and knowledge by learning from various resources. It seems GI is a well suited approach to supporting students as prospective lifelong learners who are required to adapt in a rapidly shifting information environment. .

Fitzgerald (2011) provides very interesting and informative study cases from her school. Even though GI is not incorporated across the entire school curriculum the study shows remarkable results e. GI is an ideal way to achieve student development goals as it is a collaborative process in which TLs and teachers work together to negotiate various aspects of the curriculum.

Evidence provided by Fitzgerald (2011) clearly shows how collaboration between TLs and teachers plays an important roll in the creation of inquiry units and ensuring students have a successful research experiences. Furthermore this research suggests information literacy is a key element of the students development as they work through the inquiry units. Students do not have difficulty locating information, but locating and filtering appropriate information is is a much less simple task.

Todd, Kuhlthau, and Heinstrom (2005, p 12) point out that it is impossible for TLs to facilitate the whole process on their own without collaboration with teachers and other experts. Therefore this collaboration is crucial in order for TLs to work across all disciplines in a school as an expert in knowledge and information literacy.

Implementing a GI approach in the school may be challenging, however GI is a perfect way to prepare students with the capabilities and competencies of lifelong learners that will meet the requirements of the 21st century.


Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and Australian School Library Association (ASLA)(2009) Statement on guided inquiry and the curriculum Retrieved September 4,2012 from http://www.asla.org.au/Policy1/Guided-inquiry-and-the-curriculum.aspx

Fitzgerald, L. (2011). The twin purposes of Guided Inquiry: guiding students inquiry and evidence based practice. Scan, 30(1), 26-41. Retrieved September 2, 2012 from http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/schoollibraries/assets/pdf/guidedenquiry.pdf

Kuhlthau, C. C. (2004). Seeking Meaning: A process Approach to Library and Information Services. 2nd ed. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhlthau. C. C. (2010) Guided Inquiry: School Libraries in the 21st Century Retrieved September 2, 2012 from http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~kuhlthau/docs/GI-School-Librarians-in-the-21-Century.pdf

Kuhlthau, C. C., & Maniotes, L. K. (2010). Building Guided Inquiry Teams for 21st Century Learners. School Library Monthly, 26(5), 18-21. Retrieved September 2, 2012 from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/detail?sid=333a9cdc-04ea-424f-8fb7-6ae343f18a6c%40sessionmgr13&vid=1&hid=8&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=f5h&AN=47122065

Todd, R. J., Kuhlthau, C. C., & Heinstrom, J. E. (2005). SLIM a toolkit and handbook for tracking and assessing student learning outcomes of Guided Inquiry through the school library, Centre for International Scholarship in School Libraries at Rutgers University. Retrieved August 30, 2012 from cissl.rutgers.edu/images/stories/docs/slimtoolkit.pdf


ETL 401 Blog Task1

This is my reflection on Constructivist learning and the Australian curriculum.
Teacher librarians (TLs) have the responsibly to not only organise and manage the school library but also to produce and support appropriate learning environments. In Australia, TLs have both recognised teacher qualification and librarianship. I think the skills that TLs bring is an advantageous when creating efficient teaching and learning environments. Herring stressed (2007), teaching and learning in schools has been moving away from behaviorist theories to cognitive and constructivist theories. Constructivist learning is based on the work of Vygotsky (1978), learners need supports (scaffolding) to connect between their previous and new knowledge and assist them to complete their tasks. One of these scaffolds could be Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Research (Newhouse, 2002) shows positive impacts of ICT use on learning through learning environments.

ICT has been appreciated as a learning tool in schools in decades; however, I believe not many teachers have used ICT as scaffolding in classes. For example, many Japanese teachers use Interactive White Boards (IWB) and may say ‘I am effectively using ICT in my lessons.’ Can we call this scaffolding? No, because an IWB is just a replacement for a White Board and students are still required to copy the IWB down in their workbook. Even if teachers use an IWB, the learning environment is out of date. This situation is seen in schools as teachers are not provided with enough Professional Developments (PD) opportunities. The absence of adequate PD leads to a lack of knowledge concerning the effective implementation of ICT in class rooms. Therefore TLs with the principal’s supports need to set practical PD for teachers. It goes without saying that TLs have to develop a high level of ICT knowledge and skills.

Providing PD to teachers is not sufficient to engage with constructivist learning environment. According to Herrings (2011), collaboration between teachers and TLs is a key point that to leads to successful teaching. Consequently, this collaboration will provide fruitful lessons to students. However, it is questionable whether or not this collaboration is always possible. Since principals’ understanding and supports is essential to establish cooperation and collaboration between teachers and TLs. Haycock (2007) indicates the principal plays an important part in the creation of this collaboration. This means if TLs do not obtain their principals support, this collaboration will not occur in learning environment. Producing appropriate learning environments is one of roles of a TL; the statement of the standards for professional excellence for teacher librarians (ASLA, 2004) by Australian School Library Association (ASLA) states this significance.

In view of the current learning environments at school, as a TL I have to consider:
★ How to effectively introduce useful information to teachers and students.
★ How to assist students to seek and evaluate significantly information.
★ How to connect students’ knowledge and skills to their prospective learning.
★ How to collaborate with teachers.
★ How to negotiate with principals and obtain their strong support.

Australian School Library Association (ASLA) (2004b), Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians, Australian School Library Association/Australian Library and Information Association,Zillmere, Qld.
Haycock,K.(2007). Collaboration:Critical success factors for student learning. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 25-35.
Herring, J. (2011). Improving students’web use and information literacy. A guide for teachers and teacher librarians. Facet Publishing, London,UK.
Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.) Libraries in the twenty-first century : charting new directions in information (pp. 27-42). Wagga
Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.
Newhouse, P. (2002) Literature Review the impact of ICT onlearning and teaching. Specialist Educational services, Perth, Western Australia.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: the development of higher psychological processes.Cambridge: Harvard University Press.


What does a TL really do?

In Japan, it is uncommon there is/are TL at the school. I have worked as a teacher at Junior High School in Japan however; I have never counted an exact TL in my school. One of teachers –mostly Japanese teacher- generally takes responsibilities for running the school library besides teaching regular classes. Consequently it could be very tough job and unfortunately the library becomes an unattractive place and just smells musty place for students, so who teaches search and collect information?  Usually, technical arts and home economics teachers teach it as a part of regular classes. It is a pity that TL is not recognized as an independent position in the school.

I have had many opportunities to visit both public and the school libraries since I came to Australia. Each library is running very well and is fascinated, I am really impressed whenever I visit any library. It made me to start thinking about librarianship and I decided to study Master of Education TL.

After completing this course, I would like to work for students who come from non-English background like me.