The idea of creating lifelong learners is certainly not a new one in the field of education. You can commonly see this phrase used in mission statements of schools and teachers, but what does it mean? I was reading for one of my classes at SU and was really caught by a definition of information literacy the ALA wrote in 1989.
“To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information… Ultimately, information literate people are those who have learned how to learn… They are people prepared for life-long learning, because they can always find the information needed for any task or decision at hand.” (p. 227)
While many teachers would no doubt agree with this statement, I know it wasn’t one that I read when I was forming my ideas on how I would reach my students. The some of the key knowledge which was imparted to me on how people learn was in the Constructivist model, which says that people are active learners. Teachers can facilitate a students learning, but they can’t simply impart their knowledge and expect student will learn the information.
Information literate people are better able to work within the world because they have learned how to evaluate the information they are presented with, how to find further information on the topic, and how to utilize that information to achieve their purpose. Furthermore, because of their self-propelled quest for knowledge, information literate learners are also independent learners. They are people who work to improve the community they belong to by sharing the information they have learned. (p. 226)
All that sounds like something to aspire to personally and for students or library members. Therefore, the goal is to reach our students and the community through activities and exercises that allow them to learn and implement the skills of information literacy.
Hinchliffe, L.J. (2011). Instruction. In R.E. Bopp & L.C. Smith (Eds.), Reference and information services (221-260). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, LLC.