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An introduction to school librarianship
An introduction to school librarianship

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Session 6: Independent study and information literacy

Introduction

Having the ability to seek, evaluate and use information effectively, as well as a capacity for carrying out self-directed study, are all valuable life skills. Although your students will be accustomed to undertaking some form of independent study such as homework, they may not be as familiar with the ability to learn for themselves. To encourage greater independence, you can inspire your students to be self-motivated and develop their concentration, organise their work and prioritise their time. By helping them gain control over their studies in ways such as these, you can exercise an important influence over the intellectual development of your students.

Although students will be familiar with using IT to conduct research, the concept of Information Literacy (IL) may be new to them. However, knowing how to locate and identify the most appropriate information — what to search for, what resources to use, how to evaluate information, etc. — plays an essential role in both academic and professional success. This is also true of daily life where the skills associated with information literacy are vital. For example, as the information landscape rapidly changes in relation to fake news and social media, being able to recognise the integrity of resources and discern truth from falsehood is an important skill to have.

The extent to which you can shape students’ understanding of these life skills will depend on your role in your school. However, whether you contribute to lessons, help students with research and homework, or produce leaflets and displays, having a personal understanding of information literacy can only be an advantage.

By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • familiarise students with the skills necessary to identify and retrieve information
  • support students in their independent learning
  • teach students about plagiarism and basic referencing techniques.