Notes from a late formulator — thanks to Carol Kuhlthau

So, I am sitting here at the dining table, surrounded by the detritus of assignment writing. My son is being placated for 90 minutes with Pixar’s Cars. There are print-outs of academic journal articles on information literacy from here to next week. Post-It notes stick out at odd angles and my word-processor program is open to at least two documents as I try to marshall the quotes and key points and plan my approach.

The thing is this — I have discovered something about myself as a learner. Using Kuhlthau’s model of the Information Search Process (ISP) I can see that I am a ‘late formulator’. Kuhlthau noted that during research projects, students must arrive at a point where they have decided their focus — what they really think about the information they have encountered. I take a long time to reach this, it seems. I have read and read and read and taken copious notes.

On the plus side, I think I have actually come up with a clear idea of what I am taking away from this assignment writing process. Here are some the kernels I have synthesised thus far:

– That the chief value of information literacy is that it gives us a construct for how people learn from information.

– By using this construct, we can transfer knowledge about how we learn from situation to situation, hence developing higher levels of self-monitoring and self-evaluation and independent learning.

– That this central construct works as a theory for teacher-librarians. This theory informs our practice and all decisions made about collection management, pedagogy, collaboration, and engagement with the wider community.

– That information literacy is the theory; guided inquiry learning, with collaboration between the teacher librarian and the classroom teacher, is the practice.

– That, as a mental model of how we learn from information, it is something we inherently modify and update as we encounter new information and new technologies.

Thank-you Carol Kuhlthau!

Now, I just wish I had learned this about myself a little sooner…

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